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  • Apr 29 / 2018
  • Comments Off on “Our Father in Heaven” (Matthew 6:9)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

“Our Father in Heaven” (Matthew 6:9)

https://soundcloud.com/antioch-church-325593234/our-father-in-heaven

Download Notes in a .MD file

“Our Father in Heaven”

Matthew 6:9 (Missionary Kim)

6:9 “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,…


The 3 languages I spoke in my greeting reflect my missionary journey for the last 27 years.

  • I lived in the Philippines,
  • then in the US,
  • then in Panama.

I was invited to serve a home ministry as the International Mission Director at Paul Mission International.

When I left Korea, I didn’t meet any single foreign resident on the street. Today, I see a BIG change. There’s been a rise in the number of foreign residents in Korea. In line with this, Paul Mission Intl, has been developing a ministry for the foreign residents: Thai, Vietnamese, English, African. We have different ministries – and there are 16 people involved with this. Pastor Heo and his wife are two of them.

I’m excited to be here this morning, but I feel sorry to be late in coming to you. However, you have been well spoken of around the city and so I wanted to see you very much.

This morning, I’m privileged to be with you. But since English is not my first language, I must struggle, but I’ll try my best to making myself understood.

“Our Father in Heaven”

This is based on what is known as the Lord’s Prayer. Let me share 3 points.

#1 “Our Father”

The first phrase draws my attention. “Our father” – in both the traditional version, and the modern English version.

Every time I call, “My father” I feel confidence and inspiration about who I am and in my identity.

When we call “Our father in heaven”, I’m not a Korean, not an international mission director. I just stand in the presence of God as his child of God. This is Eph – this is enough.

Nothing else – but being a child of God – is a decoration of our outer parts. Being a child of God is “REAL” – it’s TRUE.

What is the MOST truthful thing in the world?

  • The son before the father is the most truthful.
  • Or creature before the Creator is the most truthful.
  • That which is added is not “truth” but just decoration.

When is your most truthful time?

  • When we face one another with no make-up on our faces. I’m a fake with make-up on my face.

The life relationship between father and son – and when Jesus was born – in Heb 1:1-3, “the Son was the radiance of his glory and the EXACT representation of his being.” The son expresses its father – the creature radiates the Creator.

So, let me bring you into his presence today as “children of God.” This is real.

What is the first question that God made in the Garden of Eden to the human race?

“Where are you?”

What had happened?

Adam took the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil – and they realized after having eaten that they were naked. So, they were embarrassed to be naked before the Lord. They wove thick leaves into clothes and made coverings for themselves and HID among the big trees.

This reflects human behavior to try to add something in order to cover up their nakedness before God – through double and triple coverings. This is human nature. They were afraid of being naked before God because of their sins and shame.

We often try to meet our own neighbors with make-up and not naked faces. This is my point. This is a tragedy.

People try to cover their shame, they try to cover nakedness with success, money, education, something big.

  • If you add money to your nakedness, “Wow, you are a rich man!”
  • If you add knowledge to your nakedness, “Wow, you are a doctor!”
  • If you add businesses to your nakedness, “Hello, Mr. President / CEO.”

This is who we are right now. There is no “being” – we try to show what we’re “made of.” But that’s NOT REAL.

What’s real is being a child of the Father. Nothing else matters.


[Quick story]

When my son was in graduate school, he met a girl who became his wife and my daughter-in-law. Her name is Sarah.

When they were dating, my son visited her parents’ house to introduce himself.

Her parents were Cambodian missionaries, and her grandparents were living in California. Her grandfather was in the nursing home due to a stroke. So, my son went to the nursing home to introduce himself, and he was bed-ridden and being cared for by nurses all day.

Sarah said, “Grandpa, I brought my BF to have him greet you.”

Grandpa had been sleeping, or thinking, anyway his eyes were closed. He heard the girl’s voice and turned and asked, “What do you do?”

My son, pridefully, “I’m getting my PhD, sir.”

Grandpa, “Huh. It’s all useless.” Then closed his eyes again. There was no more conversation after that.

These only words uttered from his mouth, “It’s all useless.”

My son told me this over dinner, and I told my son, “that’s exactly the summary of his life.” In fact, he was 82 years old, had immigrated to the US in the 1960s. At that time, it was not usual for Koreans to study in the US nor even receive a PhD. But he became a doctor and a prestigious professor, even at high ranking schools and the Police Academy. He wrote columns in the newspaper, he became famous, everyone knew him.

Now, when he became ill, he felt there was no meaning in life, that everything was useless.

What good is a doctorate, or fame, when he is bed-ridden and at the mercy of the nurses all day?

This reminds us of Ecclesiastes. King Solomon, experienced ALL pleasures in life, and lived everything he could, and at the end, expressed, “Everything is vanity – utterly meaningless. What does man gain from all his labors at which he toils under the sun?”

So, what do we have in “being” except BEING his child.

  • “I am His child.”
  • “We are His children.”

This is real, this is true, this is ultimate. Everything else will be gone.

#2 “Our father in heaven”

Take a note of the plural form of “our father”. With this confirmation and understanding, what comes to mind as we call God, “our father” – not “my father”?

We are all the family of ONE father.

  • My question is: How are we related?
  • Look at the next person. Can you say, “You are my brother / sister”?

That’s true.

That’s the meaning of the truth.

That’s what it means by “congregation” = “our brothers and sisters.”

So, we are born into ONE family as brothers and sisters. And with this statement, I was reminded of the letter of Paul to the Ephesians. This church was multi-ethnic – Jews, Asians, Greek, Romans.

Paul emphasized two words: “remember” (chp 2)

  1. “Remember who you WERE”
  2. “Remember who you ARE”
  • You WERE – a Gentile by birth. You cannot erase or change your birth. You have no choice in your nationality.
  • You WERE “uncircumsized” by religious standards.
  • You WERE separated from Christ – excluded from citizenship in Israel – and foreigners to the promise and covenant of God to the Jews.
  • You WERE once so far away, and HAVE BEEN transferred into this family.
  • You ARE NOW ONE in Christ Jesus because he washed all your / our sins away.

Christ is our peace. Christ himself, our peace.

We have heard about the reconciliation of peace between North and South Korea on Friday – and the whole world rejoiced.

However, WE BRING unique news that JESUS CHRIST is our peace.

  • He is the ONE who has made two ONE.
  • He has broken the walls and hostility.

There has been war with Japan, discrimination of Jews in Germany, a wall between the US and Mexico. However, in THIS situation, we bring Christ – because he is PEACE.

You are no longer foreigners or aliens, you are members of God’s household.

Another verse: Galatians 3:10~ “You have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”

Wherever this happens, it doesn’t matter if you are Jew, Greek, American, Korean, African, it doesn’t matter if you are circumcised or uncircumcised.

Each race has its own religious tradition, and we respect that, but in Christ Jesus, we are ONE.

It doesn’t matter if you are civilized or not, educated or not, slave or free. What you have and what you don’t have – either you’re employee or employer – doesn’t matter. What matters is that we are ONE in Christ Jesus.

Mosaic Command

In line with this, I found wonderful verses from the Mosaic Command. Exodus 22 – following several chapters, there is the mention of 3 groups of people:

  1. Strangers (sojourners / pilgrims)
  2. Widows
  3. Orphans

These three groups were considered socially marginalized and underprivileged. God has a heart for them more than anyone else.

In the Mosaic Law, “Don’t mistreat the strangers, the aliens – because you were strangers in Egypt. Don’t take advantage of widows and orphans. If you do, they will cry out to me, and I will hear their cry, and I will arouse my anger against you. If you oppose strangers, foreigners, widows, orphans, I will kill you with my sword. Then your wife will be a widow, and your children will be fatherless.”

We must be warned in this way – against discrimination against the minor, or the weak.

Paul, then, after mentioning “no Greek, nor Jew” – after that, I found a wonderful verse in Galatians” Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, patience.”

We must LOVE one another.


What is the SECOND question to man after the Garden of Eden?

“Cain, where is your brother.”

He replied: “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

The Bible omitted the answer of God in this conversation. “Yes, you are.”

We ARE responsible for taking care of one another. Community in Latin is “come” and “munis” (gifts) – “My presence itself is a gift to someone else. I’m here because of you; because of you, I’m here.”

That’s the third point I want to share with you.

Where’s God?

  • Here.
  • Everywhere.

So, how can this be consistent?

#3 “In Heaven”

How can we make harmony with this knowledge and the first phrase of the Lord’s prayer: “in heaven”?

This is not a matter of space or location – rather it is a matter of His character, quality, personality, and our respect for Him.

  • A being in heaven is very different from a being on the ground.
  • There are many boundaries, and biases and prejudices on the ground.
  • But the higher you go in the sky, the less our boundaries become.

So, we must live where our father lives – in heaven – as Christians, as believers.

Have you ever heard of the “overview effect”? This term was coined by astronauts. When they go HIGH up in space, they see things very differently. Their visibility is very different from ours. They are “in heaven.”

If we go (metaphorically) into heaven with our father, then we can SEE as he sees – that we are ONE, a global community.

I think this has a profound meaning. I’m so moved with this message with you this morning.

Key point: Everyone is ONE in the sight of God.


Water

Lastly: you know how important and essential for survival water is. Weeks ago I went to South Africa. In Cape Town, this place is very developed – like a European country. However, on arriving there, there was no water even in public service areas – like the airport. There was only hand sanitizer.

My host’s house was large, a two-story building, looks good. But when I went to the toilet, it said, “Only flush for #2, not for #1.”

It “looks” good, but actually is difficult to live in.

“Water” symbolizes Jesus Christ. Without Christ, nothing can live (spiritually). Without water, how long can you survive? Not long. This was all due to drought.

Ezekiel 47

“The River From the Temple

1 The man brought me back to the entrance to the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. 2 He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side. ”

7 When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river.

12 Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.”

This was to be healing for all nations.

There must be fertile land – and God wants his people to divide the land and reside there.

21 “You are to distribute this land among yourselves according to the tribes of Israel. 22 You are to allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the foreigners residing among you and who have children. You are to consider them as native-born Israelites; along with you they are to be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. **23 In whatever tribe a foreigner resides, there you are to give them their inheritance,” declares the Sovereign LORD.**

Wow! great~ How fun for the Israelites to inhabit this land.

But this was not the end. God said specifically that foreigners were also to get their own land. Considering the exclusivity of the Israelites, this is extraordinary. They were to allow the foreigners to settle down as native Israelites.

The healing, the land, the leaves, the fruit, is not ONLY for Israel. This is for ALL nations. This is the heart of God. This is God’s vision.

But we are human. “I’m Korean.” I’m one-sided and biased. Sometimes, consciously or unconsciously, I mistreat, oppress, take advantage of those who are socially disadvantaged. But through God’s eyes and with his strength, we can love everyone.

  • We are children of God.
  • We are the family of ONE father.
  • We live in heaven with him.
  • We see as he sees.

Let’s pray.

  • Dec 10 / 2017
  • Comments Off on Cry Intercession and the Blessing of God (Jeremiah 33:1-3)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

Cry Intercession and the Blessing of God (Jeremiah 33:1-3)

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Cry Intercession & the Blessing of God

Jeremiah 33:1-3 (Pastor Park)

33 1:While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the Lord came to him a second time: 2 “This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it-the Lord is his name: 3 ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’


Mark 10:52 – Prayer of Barthemeous (blind beggar)

When he heard Jesus passing by, he really cried out, “Son of David! Have mercy on me!” Today, I want to share how important cry intercession is. This is not to pray for yourself, but to pray for others.

Jesus died not for himself but for you and me. His intercessory ministry is not his problem, but other people’s problem.

We read Jeremiah 33:1-3

The blessing of God is the bonus of God.

Jeremiah 33:1

“While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the Lord came to him a second time:”

Wherever you are, the most important thing is whether you receive the Word of God or not. Jeremiah was in prison – he didn’t know if he would be hanged tomorrow, or how long he would be there. But he received the Word of God which came to him a second time.

In any situation, the most important thing is to receive the Word of God.

Jeremiah 33:2

“2”This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it-the Lord is his name:”

God does everything in his time, and can do all things. No one knows what will happen tomorrow, nor even in 5 minutes. But we know who holds the future (Jesus!) – God holds our future and our tomorrows.

He is the one who formed and established and does everything according to his will.

Jeremiah 33:3

“3 ‘Call [cry] to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'”

Cry and call are totally different.

  • “Call” is like “hello!~~~~” like a phone call.
  • But “cry” is putting our whole being into the CRY out to God.

So, in the English, this translation is not very good. But the original version is very good.

Exodus 2:23

“During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God.”

You know this story – after 400 years, the Israelites were in slavery in Egypt. Originally, with Joseph and Jacob and the brothers, they were happy, living with their brother. But after 400 years, the Pharaoh(s) died and they became slaves. So, they CRIED out for help. This is the same CRY.

Exodus 2:24-25

“God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.”

God’s covenant was to take them into the Promised Land. But here they are NOT there. But at this time, God remembered his promise and plan for them.

Likewise, God has a plan for each one of us. Each person has a different speciality and different guidance from God. God has his plan for all of us, but when he starts to work for you is WHEN YOU CRY OUT TO THE LORD. God had a plan for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but he remembered it when they cried out to him.

Psalm 86:5

“You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call [cry] to you.”

Psalm 86:6

“Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my cry for mercy.”

Psalm 86:7

“In the day of my trouble I will call [cry] to you, for you will answer me.”

Unfortunately, these days many English translations reduce this powerful word “CRY” down to “call”. Even Korean people have forgotten loud voices in their prayers.

A few weeks ago, I went to Japan with my wife. After I retire, I plan to start a ministry in Nagoya, Japan.


video


Some people wonder why Japanese church is so slow to grow, but Korean church is so fast to grow.

My opinion (not theological) is that Japanese people don’t know how to pray. Japanese people are so quiet when they pray, but Korean pray so LOUDLY with one heart – CRYING out to Jesus.

The Bible says, “Cry out to me” not “whisper unto me.”

When our Uganda brothers pray so loudly, I love them so much. I think the Ugandan church will grow very quickly.

But Japanese people are so formal and quiet and don’t want to disturb other people. But the Bible says, “Cry out to God!”

Psalm 102:1

“Hear my prayer, O Lord, let my cry for help come to you.”

LOUD voice in your prayer. God wants to hear that.

Psalm 102:2

“Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call [cry], answer me quickly.”

  • CRY out to God = 10 points
  • “call” = 1 or 2 points

Luke 18:7 (Parable of the Unjust Judge – looked down on poor people)

“And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?”

Even an unjust judge, who looks down on poor people – he will not overlook people who cry out to him day and night, forever. Even he says, “I guess I should answer.”

However, our loving God wants to listen to people who cry out to him day and night.

Luke 18:8

“I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Why does Jesus talk about a loud voice with prayer first and then, “will he find faith on the earth”? Why did Jesus compare / contrast these? The person who CRIES out to the Lord HAS FAITH.

Jeremiah 33:3

“Cry unto me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

Here you can see this as one sentence. But it’s two sentences in one.

  • “Cry unto me and I will answer you.”
  • “I’ll tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

The AND is like a bridge.

There is a promise. The Bible always has a promise.

  • “If you believe in Jesus, you will become children of God.”
    • There is an optional step on your part, and THEN a result on God’s part.
  • “Come to me, all you who are burdened and heavy laden and you will have rest for your souls.”
    • IF you come, THEN you will have rest.
  • “Ask and knock, then I will answer you.”
    • God always answers us.
  • “Cry unto me!” THEN God will show great and mighty things which you do not know.
    • IF you cry out to God, THEN God will answer you.

Testimony from Mei Lin in Singapore

I conducted a Prayer Meeting with many different people. At one time, a lady attended the meeting and I asked, “What is your prayer item?” She wrote it, “Get married.” I thought, “Is this the first? Remarried?” She was a large lady, so I thought she must have already been married. So, I asked her (not her age) but I found out she was 40 at that time. (I also was 40). At that time, I was uneasy in my heart. Who else could propose to her? In my view, she didn’t look like a normal lady. So, I prayed for her, “Lord, sister Mei Lin wants to get married, so where is her husband now?” Suddenly I had some thought in my mind that this would be impossible. I had a negative mindset. The thought disturbed my prayer – and eventually I gave up the prayer.

After one week, I went back and she asked me, “Hi pastor! Have you prayed for me?” Uhhhh… I’m sorry. I could not. She told me, “If a Korean pastor intercedes for me, I WILL get married!~” But this was very difficult in my heart.

I tried to pray for her the following day – she checked every day.

I prayed, “Lord, if it’s your will, let her meet somebody.” I just prayed simply and quickly. At that time, I still had doubt in my mind. I thought, “Wow, who can propose to her? She seems not single. She’s big and looks already married.”

Around one month I prayed in that way, very simply.

One day when I prayed, the HS touched my heart. He said, “I don’t look outward – I look at the heart.” (1 Sam 17). I was really surprised. “God, you are God, so you always look at the heart. But I’m just a man, we always see the outside first.” God said, “Yes, but you are a SERVANT of God, you also must see as I see.”

“But God, in my heart, I have great doubt. How can I pray for her?”

“CRY unto me for her!”

Cry? Why I should cry for her? This is not my problem. This is her problem.

But God touched my heart. So I searched the Bible – where is this word “cry”?

I saw Moses, Jeremiah, David, Jesus CRY unto God.

They prayed for the people.

The people fell unto idols and worshiped idols.

  • Moses: “Lord, if you kill them all, people will say, ‘You have no power to lead the people into the Promised Land.’ Lord, PLEASE forgive them!”
  • God: “As you have prayed, so I will forgive them.”

This is intercessory prayer. The Israelites were forgiven.

So this word touched my heart very much. So, I tried to cry unto God for her. “Lord, even though she looks like she has no pair, let her find someone to marry!” I really cried out to God for her.

At that time, I realized new things from the Lord. When I cried out to God, in my thoughts, Mei Lin was big, heavy, not pretty. But when I cried out to God, that kind of negativity and human thinking just came out. One by one, everything just came out. Then after about one month, I realized there was no longer any doubt in my heart. “God WILL let her DEFINITELY see the RIGHT person that HE has prepared!” I had confidence in my heart.

Brothers and sisters, why does God ask you to cry unto him?

When you do so, all the negative things, the dark mind, comes out to him.

So, after one month, I now have confidence that God has someone for her. So I asked her. Later she came back from Canada and a few days later she brought me a love letter. (Well, not really.) It was just a greeting letter (from a man who had no hair) – 10 years age difference. The letter said, “Mei Lin, how are you? When you have time, come again.” (This is just a greeting letter, not a love letter.)

We prayed for another one.

Later one young man came to our prayer meeting and asked me to pray for his future wife (he looked 25, but was 35). Hmm, Mei Lin was 40. 5 years age difference.

So I asked him, “What kind of lady do you want? Tall, short, beautiful?”

He replied, “Pastor, I can’t see the outward appearance.” WOW! FAITH!

He said, “when the lady talks and shows her activity in church, we know whether she has faith or not.”

I also prayed for him.

Long story short, 8 months later, the two of them came to my office. Eric said, “Pastor, I decided to get married with Mei Lin.” At that time, I was SO happy! Wow Eric! You have real faith!

“Pastor, we are going to be married because of your prayer, so you should officiate.” They asked me to pray for 1 hour. (No, no, no, it should be only 10 minutes.) “No, we have 700 people coming, non-Christians – so you may share evangelistically! Reveal the demon possession of our relative that came out, the Lazarus story, etc.” They knew my preaching and my style, so they chose some, edited them, and brought them.

On that day, I preached 1 hour.

Then the wedding march. The people clapped.

I thought, “I CRIED unto God and God answered me!” I was very content because they were married.

The Bible says, “Cry unto me and I will answer you!”

But it doesn’t stop there, “And I will show you great and mighty things!”

So, I was so happy.

At that time, the senior pastor (60, I was 40), came to me and said, “Pastor Park, would you please come to our Revival Message as a guest speaker in 2 months?” I was so embarrassed because my message had been in broken (not very good) English.

Then the senior pastor said, “You must come to my church as an English speaking preacher.” I was so shocked. From that day, God used me as an English preacher. I NEVER thought this – I never asked God for this. This was a “great and mighty thing” which I didn’t know.

Later, after this couple’s one month honeymoon, they brought back a present and said, “Mei Lin’s sister could not sleep because of your preaching – she thought she would go to hell because of the rich man and Lazarus story. So, she asked you to bring the Bible to her house and teach her.” After 6 months, we baptized her.

A few days later, she sent me a letter with a $3000 check there. “Linda, how can you send this big check?” She said, “Pastor, I’m a business woman, after I was baptized, God touched my heart. The pastor is your spiritual father, and takes care of your spiritual life, so you must take care of his pocket money.” WOW! Hallelujah! I never asked God for this, but he took care of me nonetheless.

The Bible says,

“Cry unto me and I will answer you and will show you GREAT and MIGHTY things which you do not know!” This is the power of crying out to God.

Even though you didn’t ask, you didn’t pray specifically for this, God provides and knows better than you what you need.

During that time, for 20 years, I received $3000 every month. When I came to Antioch Church, I told her I didn’t need that any longer.

The story: God said in John 10:10 “Life with abundant blessings” (abundant life)

God promised us abundant life, but why do we always feel it’s “not enough”? Many people are here as foreigners (also, my wife and I are American citizens). The keys that Jesus spoke to us “will I find faith when I return”? FAITH is CRYING OUT to Jesus.

So, I’m going away after this month. This is a very important message. This is God’s promise if we cry unto him.

Photo of Mei Lin

God prepared Mei Lin’s husband according to his will.

  1. God is ABOVE.
  2. You are HERE.
  3. You need someone to INTERCEDE for.
  • When you intercede for someone else, God answers for them, and gives a bonus blessing to you.

God gives the blessing – the great and mighty things – the bonus when you intercede for others.

If you pray for your brother and sister as intercessory prayer – CRYING out – he will answer, and he will show you the blessing that you never prayed for.

Many Christians feel they have NOT ENOUGH of everything. This is because they do not pray for others. They do not intercede for others. My mother always carries a note to get prayer requests from others and intercedes for them.

Jeremiah 33:3 (BBE 1964)

“Let your cry (*clama* in Latin) come to me, and I will give you an answer, and let you see great things and secret things of which you had no knowledge.”

Jeremiah 33:3 (Latin Volgate 405)

“clama ad me et exaudiam te et adnuntiabo tibi grandia et firma quae nescis”

Jeremiah 33:3 (KJV 1611)

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and might things, which thou knowest not.”

My missionary life was very content, with abundant blessings from the Lord.

Finally,

Jeremiah 33:3 (BBE 1964)

“Let your CRY come to me, and I will give you an answer, and let you see great things and secret things of which you had no knowledge.”

You never knew, never thought, but you will receive great and mighty things from the Lord if you CRY out to God for others.

May God bless you richly.

Please stand up.

Romans 8:26

“26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”

What is our weakness?

  1. We don’t know how to pray to God.
  2. The Spirit intercedes for us through wordless groans.
  3. This is the cry unto the Lord. Then God listens and answers.
  4. Then the bonus of blessing, the great and mighty things will come to you.

Let’s try Abba Prayer (“Father Prayer”) maybe 10 seconds.

Let’s pray.

  • Oct 29 / 2017
  • Comments Off on God Remembers and Rewards (Esther 6:1-14)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

God Remembers and Rewards (Esther 6:1-14)

Download Notes in a .MD file

God Remembers and Rewards

Esther 6:1-14 (Pastor Cruz)

Mordecai Honored

1 That night the king could not sleep; so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him. 2 It was found recorded there that Mordecai had exposed Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, who had conspired to assassinate King Xerxes. 3 “What honor and recognition has Mordecai received for this?” the king asked. “Nothing has been done for him,” his attendants answered. 4 The king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the palace to speak to the king about impaling Mordecai on the pole he had set up for him. 5 His attendants answered, “Haman is standing in the court.” “Bring him in,” the king ordered. 6 When Haman entered, the king asked him, “What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?” Now Haman thought to himself, “Who is there that the king would rather honor than me?” 7 So he answered the king, “For the man the king delights to honor, 8 have them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head. 9 Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king’s most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, ‘This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!’ ” 10 “Go at once,” the king commanded Haman. “Get the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended.” 11 So Haman got the robe and the horse. He robed Mordecai, and led him on horseback through the city streets, proclaiming before him, “This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!” 12 Afterward Mordecai returned to the king’s gate. But Haman rushed home, with his head covered in grief, 13 and told Zeresh his wife and all his friends everything that had happened to him. His advisers and his wife Zeresh said to him, “Since Mordecai, before whom your downfall has started, is of Jewish origin, you cannot stand against him—you will surely come to ruin!” 14 While they were still talking with him, the king’s eunuchs arrived and hurried Haman away to the banquet Esther had prepared.


Guest speaker today from the Philippines. Pastor Cruz.

We are here to celebrate our anniversary. Our story began when my wife entered the staff of Paul Mission – so we thought a good opportunity would be to meet Pastor Park again for our anniversary.

Title: “God Remembers and Rewards”

The story of Esther is very interesting – it tells of the situation of the Jews in Persia – they had been taken in 586BC by King Nebuchadnezzar. If you remember the story of Daniel, this was the taking of the Jews to Persia. Ezra was the story of the taking of the Jews BACK to Jerusalem (on the 70th year of captivity – as prophesied).

Not all the Jews decided to return to their land. Some had adapted to life in Persia. So this book of Esther gives us a good look at what became of THOSE particular Jews.

This story of Esther shows us some things we really need to learn in our walk as followers of Christ. Here are 3 important principles we must follow.

#1 People may forget, God does not

People forget promises – no matter how good their intention, there is a point in time they just forget. Maybe they are getting older, or their situation changes. Maybe they become unable to fulfill a promise they made.

  • Ex: After your graduation next year, you will get such and such gift. But, say some things in life happen, situations change, and you can’t get that gift.

This is part of the human limitation – when we put our trust in humans. Sometimes humans forget or become unable to fulfill their promise.

But God does NOT forget.

You know in Esther, the name “Yahweh” or “God” is never mentioned, but we can see him at work behind the scenes throughout the book.

Haman wanted to DESTROY the Jews. He even erected a pole (gallows) on which to hang Mordecai – and he was plotting to have the soldiers hunt down and kill all the Jews.

But… coincidentally… the King couldn’t sleep that night.

You know how kings entertained themselves? “Come to me and read to me ALL my accomplishments.” He was listening – self-satisfied – “I’m a cool dude~”

At one point, they came to an instance where some of his servants were plotting against him – and he found that Mordecai revealed this plot – and the king was saved.

Hmmm, coincidentally… this particular situation was read to the king that night. Only God can do that. Here’s God at work, reminding the king.

He asked, “What’s been done for this guy?” The servant said, “Nothing.” So the king said, “Hmm, who’s outside right now?” Haman! The favorite of the king!

“So, Haman, you’ve been giving me awesome advice…” (But earlier that week he’d made an edict he just needed signed by the king to annihilate all the Jews). He thought the king MUST want to honor him.

But the story doesn’t go that way.

God knows everything – and at some particular moment, he will complete his purpose in your life.

Isaiah 49:15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!”

So, is that possible? For a mother to forget the baby at her breast? No way. Even more than this, God will never forget you. That’s the kind of God we serve.

Hebrews 6:10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

You know, if you give your heart to someone, it can be broken. (That’s why Korean novellas are so popular in the Philippines).

That hurts so bad when that happens. So, don’t give your heart to just anyone. Give your heart only to the Lord. Give it to Jesus and he will keep it safe and not break it. (But if he DOES break it, it’s only to give you a better heart.)

In whatever ways you’re serving God right now, – or if you’re not, make the decision to do so now. Your gestures of compassion for your brothers and sisters in Christ are recorded in heaven. He will NEVER forget those acts. And you will NEVER be disappointed when you choose to follow him.

Like in the story of Mordecai. Perhaps Mordecai was grumbling about this – Haman was honored afterward – not him (Esther 3, 4). Probably he was grumbling. “This is terrible – what’s happening to me?” God has a BETTER plan.

#2 God rewards at the RIGHT time

He has a particular point in time when he will act and give you your reward. Imagine if Mordecai had been rewarded at that immediate moment, it would be finished. Years later, with the situation with Haman, there would be nothing left to receive.

It’s as if God purposefully saved his reward for this particular moment – when their lives were at stake.

Jeremiah 17:10 “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”

God is hovering and looking over each and every one of us. So, do not TIRE of doing the good deeds God has set apart for you to do. He will reward in the RIGHT time.


My story:

I started my ministry at age 18.

In the Philippines, Christians are called “Protestants” because we have a Catholic majority population. In the Philippines, pastors are looked down on (not exalted like in Korea).

Over time, I felt God calling me into full-time ministry and the elders affirmed it and appointed me youth pastor. My salary was quite small. I admitted to myself, “I’ll never be able to support a family – nor even have one.” My salary was only 2000 pesos (40,000 won?) per month.

My father died when I was 8. You can imagine how difficult it was for my mother to raise us.

I can remember walking 4km through the mountains to the church. But in the city, people thought it was strange that I didn’t take public transportation. When I reached the church, I was soaked with sweat, carrying a heavy guitar. I led worship and then preached. I told God I’d just be single forever.

I met my wife in the church. She’s a CPA (accountant). She gets to work and earns our money. And I get to preach. Isn’t God amazing? That’s how God works in our lives.

Whenever airplanes fly overhead, I never took notice. I never thought I would ever fly in one. But God had a better plan. By his grace and goodness, I’m able to travel, see different places, and share the gospel. God is so good.


You see, no matter what you are doing for him, so long as you do it with all your heart and you do it consistently, God is able to give you a reward, at the proper time. And people take notice.

  • You come to church early, clean up once, and no one notices. But do it EVERY Sunday, and people notice.
  • When you serve others, help the sick, show hospitality, consistently, people notice and God will reward in the proper time.

1 Corinthians 3:12 “12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.”

It’s not important to just keep doing, you have to do it with your whole heart as well. Put your heart into what you do and the result will show.

If you work in the office and you only work hard when the boss watches you…

One thing I really admired the first time we came here is the “Hurry, hurry” attitude. We even almost bumped someone who was walking and brushing her teeth at the same time.

The people work hard, and give their all for their work.

When we were in Paul Mission, we served missionaries (one was Pastor Park). We would normally hear, “Oh my! So slow! Hurry up!” but we thought we were doing OK… “Hmm, OK, we’ll hop to it! Hurry up! Do it fast! Do it well!” HOW MUCH MORE when you’re serving God?

People are dying, heading to hell, we MUST share the gospel. Where’s your sense of urgency? We must do it fast, and do it well.

Share the Word, share our hearts.

Jesus did that. He only lived 33 years, ministered for only 3 – boy, he was in a hurry. But he came to seek and save the lost – that we might spend eternity in heaven with him.

You see, we NEED to give our efforts to extend God’s kingdom and reach out to the lost. This will please God and he will reward it.

#3 Nothing is more fulfilling than the reward that is from the Lord

Back to our story, Esther 6.

  • Suppose the king said to Mordecai, “Let’s ask him what he wants to receive for his deeds.”
  • He probably will not even dare to say what Haman said. “Give me your robe, and your horse, and your ring, and proclaim throughout the city what I’ve done!” No way! This is probably the farthest thinking of Mordecai.
  • Probably he was only concerned with his own survival at that moment. “King, please, just spare the lives of my people…”

But look what happened. Totally unexpected! He was honored greatly by the King.

God has a way to honor each and every one of us. He has his own special way to do THAT to you. He knows your special circumstances, he knows what matters to you, and he knows how to respond to that. And he can do even more than that. Beyond your expectations, beyond what you ask. Sometimes, something you never even expected to happen – happens. He did it for Mordecai and he can do it for you too.

1 Corinthians 3:8 “8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.”

Each has a purpose and each will receive their reward.

Your faithfulness to the Lord will be rewarded – no matter how small it may seem.

Rev 22:12 “12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.”

But even before this, God rewarded us – when we were still sinners – with eternal life through Jesus Christ.

There is nothing we can do to receive this grace. While we were still sinners, he died for us.

He is returning at just the right time, and his reward is plenty.

Friends,

Keep in mind that we are serving a faithful God. He does not overlook your labor nor sacrifices for him. He hears your prayers. The loudest, the quietest prayers in your heart, he hears them all equally. He has promised a reward and surely he will give it.

He remembers and he rewards.

That’s how generous our God is.

You will never be wrong when you choose to put your faith in Christ and serve him faithfully.

Let’s pray.

  • Oct 22 / 2017
  • Comments Off on Hold on Mission (2 Timothy 4:1-8)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

Hold on Mission (2 Timothy 4:1-8)

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Hold on Mission!

2 Timothy 4:1-8 (Pastor Jack Tan)

A Final Charge to Timothy

1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. 6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.


Nice to meet you. We are family in Christ. It’s the first time to meet you, but I’m happy to go home after meeting others.

I will share a Scripture from Paul. This is the last letter of Paul. And also it’s very important – what Paul said to others. It is Paul’s response to God’s calling to finish his mission.

The purpose of this letter: to ask Timothy whatever the situation is, you have to hold onto the mission.

Do not be affected by the situation. He hopes that Timothy will also experience God like Paul has experienced him.

This time, I will share what Paul writes.

Today’s topic is “Hold on Mission” – this is the mission that EVERY Christian should have.

I think this letter is not only sent to Timothy, but also to all Christians. I’m privileged to come here to see your church – it’s a missionary church. It’s really doing the “Mission” – Thank God.

The Mission must continue. There are many pastors who do God’s mission. They have the mission and testimony. This should be continued.

So, how to “Hold on Mission”?

1: Keep the Faith

Paul says, 4:7

“7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

This is Paul’s experience. He doesn’t only do it, but at first he was chosen by God and he will continue to the end until death. Why can he continue on this, God’s mission? Because it is God’s mission.

He said this when he was about to die, he already finished the mission. If we hold onto what we believe (about God) we can finish the mission.

To fight for God, God’s Word is the best weapon. Through it, we can stand firm during the test. We will not waver in uncertain circumstances.

Why it is important to keep God’s Word? Because we easily go the wrong way in a spiritual path if not. At first, Paul obeyed God’s Word, but then he didn’t listen to God’s Word – so it is very important to listen to God’s Word and take it seriously. We must hold onto God’s Word as a Mission and hold onto that Mission. Then we can finish God’s will in our lives and communities.

Only if we keep God’s Word can we continue God’s Will and not go the wrong way. If we go the wrong way, everything is in vain. The Bible says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the laborers labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches the city, the guardsmen guard it in vain.”

When you do everything, in the end, what is the price you will pay? Should you continue? Not on your own strength. So, we can see it is very important to hold onto God’s Word, and God’s Mission.

If we want to fight the good fight, we must obey God’s Word. So, let us learn from Paul.

2: Through the Power of the Holy Spirit

Acts 1:8 “8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.””

This word comes from after Jesus appeared to the disciples 3 times. At that time, Jesus appeared to Peter and the other disciples. They went back to fish – they had already given up their mission.

So Peter’s witness is a powerful witness. Before, he was a man who was frightened, scared of death, disowned Jesus 3 times. But after Peter was touched by the HS, he stood again, even to be killed for Christ. Where does that bravery, faith, strength come from? It’s from the HS.

So, today, we have no excuse.

With the HS, we can hold on to the Mission. Thank God.

We can see your church’s background is touched by the HS.

Depending on the HS, our lives can be changed.


I will give my testimony to you.

I became a Christian from 1978. At that time, I was caught and put in jail. At that time, I turned to God from 1979 to today. I thank God. The HS works in me. So I encourage those who have a similar background as me. My life was totally changed. This is because I have the will to repent. I had been addicted to drugs. But, from 1979 until now, I never used drugs again. God gave me the chance to experience the HS.

Because of the drugs I had been caught. So, thank God for this difference. Because I received Christ as my Savior and the power of the HS, today there are many testimonies like this.

There are many like this in Singapore and also Malaysia. It is very important to receive the HS.


Peter was afraid of being caught at first, but after he received the HS, he was afraid of nothing – even death for Christ.

This is because Jesus said, “You will receive power when the HS comes on you.” And then, they were to share the Mission with the Gentiles.

At that time, Peter responded to God’s mission again. And we can see how powerfully Peter was used by God. He overcame his weakness by the power of the HS.

We can see from his mission – 3,000 people believed in God, in Jerusalem, on a single day, from his testimony. They asked Peter what they should do to respond to God and Peter said, “You must repent and be baptized.” At that meeting, 3,000 people believed in Christ (in the same city that crucified him I believe.)

“You are no longer controlled by the sinful nature, but by the HS.”

We can see this in the early Antioch Church. Thank God your church’s name is ALSO Antioch Church. You are worthy to have this name. Give a hand to God. Your church is a missionary church.

The missionary church is what God wants.

At that time, Antioch Church sought God.

Acts 13:1-2 “1 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.””

At that time, they had to do mission work. The HS told them to send Paul and Barnabas to evangelize. So, after they fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.

We can see the power of Antioch Church – touched by the HS. Today, the power of the church is touched by the HS.

After Jesus finished his work and ascended into heaven, he sits (now) at the right hand of God the Father. At that time, he sent the disciples. And we know that the HS still works in our church today. He helps us finish the mission, and helps us to love Jesus and love God, and he prepares for the Last Day when Jesus will come. So, this Age is the Work of the HS.

Now, we believe in the same God as today.

  • The heavenly Father is the same God as the one who did Creation.
  • Jesus is Salvation.
  • And through 3 years, he trained the disciples to do God’s work – to continue his own work.

We ask God to work in our hearts and lives. We want to do God’s work – if we want to see God’s reward, we must ask for the power of the HS.

Mission work (and the power to do it) is given by the HS. So, it is very important to respond to the calling of the HS.

Many churches were given the HS – and Paul visited many churches and many believers who loved God. This is very important. Respond to the HS.

Now, we are in the spiritual world. This spiritual world cannot fight with the physical world.

Let us see 2 Corinthians 10:4 “4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”

At that time, many people became Christians. Peter and John were called by God. Because of P&J, many people trusted God. So, they were caught – later set free on the condition that they don’t share the gospel. But they went back to church and reported all that the Chief Priest and elders had done. At this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God.

Acts 4:22-30 They preached with great boldness. At first, they could not share the gospel at that time, but with the power of the HS, they were able to. So, we can see that the best weapon of spiritual warfare is the Word of God.

Acts 4:31 “31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”

We can see that spiritual warfare is a serious business. Continuing in chapter 4, we can see the heart of the early church:

4:32-37 “32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. 36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.”

So, we can see that we need the power of the HS to teach us the right way to behave, how to love one another.

In Malaysia, I opened one church, and one brother was a tutor there. Evil took control of him at one time, and he couldn’t teach any longer. He was originally a very handsome fellow, like Pastor Heo, but when evil took hold of him, when we had a service, we tried to cast out the evil, but could not. Afterward, we prayed “In Jesus Name” and when we did that, he fell prostate – laid down. This is spiritual war.

We can see, if we fight by the power of the HS, evil cannot resist – it will flee.

So, we must fight by the power of the HS.

Many things may threaten us, so let us ask for help from God. We need to hold on to the mission, and trust what we believe. And in the power of the HS, he will help us overcome our weakness, and fight.

If we do this, we can fight the good fight for God. At this, we can work hard for God. So, thank God.

I hope everyone can learn from this sermon.

At this time, we have many needs. I hope and pray that we will all hold to the mission and do missionary work from this generation to the next and next and next generation.

Thanks everyone for giving me the opportunity to preach this sermon.


  • Say to yourself, “I’m a missionary.”
  • Beat your heart and say it, “I’m a missionary.”

Today’s sermon title is very suitable. “Hold on Mission.” (Catch, possess, continually, without stop).

Actually, if you “Hold on Mission”, you are a missionary before God in this world. Missionary = “Mission holder” – so we are all missionaries in this world.

Let’s give a hand and praise to God.

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 30 / 2017
  • Comments Off on The Lord, Our Shepherd (Psalm 23)
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The Lord, Our Shepherd (Psalm 23)

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The Lord, Our Shepherd

Psalm 23 (Pastor Abraham Kim)

1 The LORD is my shepherd,
I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.

Introductory Questions

This is a very famous passage in the Bible. It’s such a beautiful and pastoral Psalm, many believers and even non-believers like it, use it(for example, in funerals), and can even memorize the whole chapter. So, many people are very familiar with it and even many songs are written about it. But I have one question: Do people understand the true meaning of this passage? Do people enjoy this Psalm because it is very pastoral and peaceful and provides a wonderful atmosphere? Do they only recite it from their lips or do they understand its depth within their soul?

1. The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

This Psalm was written through King David by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We don’t know exactly when it was written, but we do know the whole life of David was not consistently smooth. As a youth, when he was a little shepherd, he was isolated from family in the field. After his anointing by the prophet Samuel, his father-in-law, King Saul, pursued and hunted him. In his later years, as King, his son Absalom betrayed against him and tried to become king. So, we can see that David’s life was never quite good enough. It was very turbulent and he endured many evil circumstances. Yet, still, he confessed and proclaimed “the LORD is my shepherd.”

So, how can David say this: “I shall not be in want?” This is NOT because all situations and conditions are favorable, but rather it because he recognized that his shepherd is Jehovah. He was very satisfied in God alone. This is how he can proclaim, “I shall not be in want.” We don’t have much personal knowledge about the life of a shepherd, but in Israel at that time, ALL Israelites were very familiar with this kind of lifestyle and profession. This is especially true of David, because he worked as a shepherd for the early years of his life. This was an example of a typical “3D job”: it was

  1. dirty,
  2. dangerous, and
  3. difficult.

Nobody wanted to do 1 this job. So then, why did David make this confession of God? It’s because he fully understood through his experience how much love the shepherd has for his sheep.

In verse 1, what is God revealed as? Verse 1’s subject is Jehovah. The sheep do not choose the shepherd. But the shepherd, particularly in Israel at that time, would look after other shepherd’s sheep and work hard when he was young to earn money to buy his own sheep. He chose these sheep himself, bought and paid for them with his hard-earned money, marked their ears with a tag, and cared for them with deep love. This is a reflection of God’s great grace and unconditional love for us in that he chooses his own sheep. To the sheep, the shepherd is their absolute LIFE. Without a shepherd, the sheep always perish.

We need to understand the 2 characteristics of sheep:

  1. They are powerless: The are vulnerable to attacks from external forces, for example: wolves, lions, bears, thieves, or even sheep flies and poisonous herbs
  2. They are foolish: They have many internal problems, for example, their eyesight is weak, they easily lose the way, they are stubborn. Foolish AND stubborn? Wow, this is NO 답 (totally hopeless). They even eat grass and the whole roots and foolishly destroy the fields.

These two characteristics of sheep are also just like humanity (me and you). Humans think that we can do everything by ourselves, even that we can save ourselves. But just like “cast sheep” – which cannot get back up after falling down – humanity also cannot save ourselves without the grace of God.

2. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,

God provides for his sheep. In Palestine, for more than half of the year, the land becomes a harsh wilderness. So, the shepherd must prepare a place for his sheep before leading his sheep there to feed them. Shepherds need not only consider “green pastures” and “quiet waters”, but also shade and most importantly pens for their sheep. So, many shepherds used the same stone pens in many places every year. In Korea, these day is summer holiday season(휴가철). It’s The peak season. 2 This is a joy and same time one of the big burdens for many parents: If you go to the beach, children only expect the fun of playing in the water, but parents must prepare everything else: food, the shade, the place to stay, the place to wash, the place to lie down, etc.

Do you know when sheep can lie down? There are 4 conditions that need to be satisfied for this:

  1. Nothing to fear (because sheep cowardly, they are easily scared and run, lifting their heads and looking around) – so they need a sense of security
  2. There must be no conflict with other sheep
  3. They need to be free from flies, mosquitoes, or other bugs or discomforts
  4. After their bellies are fully satisfied with enough grass, they can lie down

David was a young shepherd so he understands these conditions much more deeply than the others. He also very sincerely protected his sheep, in the same way that he recognized that God abundantly loved and protected him as a Good Shepherd. In Gospel of John 10:11 Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” so, for the sake of his sheep, he can lay down his life for the sheep. And just as he said, he did.

3. he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

“He restores” means “gives life.” Recall the “cast sheep” – when they fall down they absolutely can’t get back up by their own power. In the same way, we also need God’s saving power to help us “get back up” – out of our sin and into a right relationship with Him.

When God love us, and save us? Romans 5:8 says “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” and Ephesians 2:1 says “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins”.

God saved us and gave us life. He promised us that he would never leave us nor 3 forsake us. But Deists say that God created the world and abandoned it. That he gave us life and left. We believe that God is alive and with us and always faithful and leads us into “paths of righteousness.”

4. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

In the life of a shepherd, there were times when all the fields had been visited by the sheep, the grass destroyed, and the fields left bare. There was nothing left for the sheep to eat. The only place left was a swamp, or wetland, but the path into the swamp was very dangerous. This is what is referred to as the “valley of the shadow of death.”

There was no other choice but to brave the dangerous path to the only available field that remained, so the shepherd led his sheep down into the swamp. Like this, there are many times in our Christian lives that are filled with troubles, doubts, and dangers.

This is not always a result of sin or bad karma, but is the will of God. It is the will of our Shepherd. This is the “path of righteousness.” God has promised to never leave us nor forsake us, so we can confess, “I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

What are the rod and staff of God?

  1. The rod is used to direct the sheep, or to hit the sheep to discipline them or alarm them when they lose the way. The shepherd needs to be very close to his sheep to keep them on the proper path and guide their feet. The rod is also used to count the sheep and check the quality of their skin – this means the shepherd uses the rod to check their health.
  2. The staff is used as a weapon to protect the sheep from their enemies.

When the shepherd leads his sheep through the “valley of the shadow of death” this is to grow and mature the sheep. In the same way, our Shepherd, God leads his people through the “valley of the shadow of death” and wants all his people to grow and mature in Christ. But when we walk through this difficult and dangerous path, there are two things we must remember:

  1. This is not the easiest path
  2. But, God is with us

So, when we walk through this “valley of the shadow of death”, we cannot fully understand God’s purpose or plan. Even though we may doubt or lose faith, we must draw close to our shepherd through the Word of his promise and our prayer.

5. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Verses 5-6 show us that God is not only leading us in the past nor present time, but also until the the end of time. David proclaimed the Lord “prepared a table before him in the presence of his enemies.” What does this mean? There are 2 meanings.

First, that God resolved David’s conflict with Saul, even Absalom, and through those events, God let them recognize that he was with David during his life. However, this is not the full realization of this promise.

Secondly, in the Day of the Lord (Jesus’ Second Coming), God will completely and absolutely prepare a table before his children before his enemy, Satan, and we will feast together with Jesus in all his heavenly glory, and be declared righteous and free from all sin and death.

The first question in the Heidelberg Catechism says:

“What is your only comfort in life and death?”

The answer is:

That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ.

He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil.

He also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, all things must work together for my salvation.

Therefore, by his Holy Spirit he also assures me of eternal life and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for him.

Human beings have no power to save anyone – even ourselves. The only one who can save us is our Savior and Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Our Good Shepherd Jesus Christ paid all the penalty for our sin with his precious blood.

In verse 6, the verb “follow” is “רדף ” râdaph[raw-daf]” in Hebrew and it is used in 1 the same way that a guard pursues or diligently follows an enemy. It’s just like as The Highway Patrolman, John piper says, “God is not only our good shepherd, nor only our lavish host; he is also a highway patrolman pursuing you with goodness and mercy every day of your life, and he is fast.” Originally this verb has a negative meaning. But here, it is used to strongly emphasize just how closely God’s grace and love and goodness will pursue us throughout our lives.

As Revelation 7:16-17 says, “16 Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. 17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Therefore, let us focus our eyes on our Good Shepherd, Jesus. For the sheep, the Shepherd alone is more than enough to provide for all our needs. We don’t need to worry about pasture, or pens, or shade, or enemies. If you are a true Christian, God alone, our Good Shepherd alone, is more than enough to satisfy all our needs. The Christians who can deeply proclaim and love this Psalm are truly the sheep of the Good Shepherd.

  • May 14 / 2017
  • Comments Off on The Power of Prayer (Matthew 7:7-8)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

The Power of Prayer (Matthew 7:7-8)

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The Power of Prayer

Matthew 7:7-8 (Dr. Merv Weerasekera)

7:7 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.


We have a special speaker from the US today: Dr. Merv Weerasekera on The Power of Prayer.

International church: Korea, Uganda, Indonesia, Ghana, US, etc…

I was born in Singapore – a merchant sailor. My dream was to see the world at 12, so at 17, I joined a ship and started sailing. When I became 21, I had circled the globe many times – been to almost every country represented by this church. At around that age, I became very disillusioned because my dream had already come true. I asked myself, “If you died tonight, where would your soul go?” I’d been in a war zone, shot at, almost got washed out to sea in the Atlantic Ocean, many terrible accidents as well. And I asked that question. I had to answer: “I don’t know.”

Youth with a Mission (Intl Mission Org) put tracts on that ship and I read one and heard the story of being born again. Every time I read that tract, I cried. On the third night, I read “4 Spiritual Laws” and it’s as though Jesus was standing right there in front of me. I asked him into my heart at 2:30am outside Singapore. There was fear and anger in my heart and at that exact moment, the fear and anger left and peace and joy entered my heart. I’ve been this way for 35 years. After that, I joined that same Mission Org (Youth with a Mission) – and ever since then I’ve worked on telling the next guy the story of Jesus.

Once I had a revelation about Jesus. I was mopping the floor, admiring my clean floor, and the Lord spoke to me and said, “You’ve always wanted to feed your fellow man – how about I use you to give them eternal life?” WOAH! I was totally transformed!

You know, if I could give every person I met $1 million, but after death, who knows where they would go? But, if God asked me to give that person eternal life, there is NO job higher than that.

That is the epitome of life. God using you to give others eternal life!


After that, I started preaching the gospel to the people on that merchant ship – and I met Pastor Jingu Park. Later, I married an American woman in Singapore – she was deported 6 months later – so I ended up in the US not knowing WHAT I would do. I didn’t even have a high school diploma at that time. I had a hard time reading Newsweek Magazine. I thought I would be mopping the floor for the Lord.

I was in the US, didn’t know how to drive – always walked or took the bus/subway – and I had to start absolutely from scratch. But I remember praying all night with Pastor Park – from 12am to 6am. That’s what I did in the US. I became a waiter in a Chinese restaurant and was washing dishes at night. I tried to save money to go “home” to Singapore. But God had different plans.

I joined a church and we started praying all night. God started opening doors and opening my eyes. “Son, you’re not going home. I have plans for you here.”

This Scripture here says, “If you’re in a bind and you don’t know where to go, get down on your knees and cry out to the Lord.”

Ask -> Seek -> Knock

Ask God in a place of prayer – make that place of prayer in your life.

You know, life is NOT in a straight line. You know the “Prosperity Gospel”? (Give to God, he’ll make you rich). But I don’t see that in the Scriptures. I see a loving, powerful, all-knowing God who has a PLAN of LOVE for each and every person. God wants to SHOW you himself. THIS is the gospel.

So, here I am in the US, trying to save to go home to Singapore, and praying on Friday nights and asking, “What am I doing here? YOU are out of your mind!” (Oh, no! Please, sorry, I must have made you angry! Please forgive me! Forgive even my temptations!)

God said, “I want you to go to school and start studying.” God opened the door and let me take my GED (High school diploma equivalent).

I prayed, prayed, prayed.

My life, suddenly, (no family in the US at all) is ONLY consisting of GOD.

God will PUT you in those kinds of places.

Don’t expect Christianity to be all flowers and roses and an easy life. Yes, in church, we worship the Lord, we dance and praise and sing and dance and love one another. When we come to church, we must come to KNOW him.

I’m trying to put my story together, but God won’t tell me. Type A personalities want to know the WHOLE plan right NOW. We all in a HURRY!

But the Scripture doesn’t say that. You aren’t in it to GET something from God. God isn’t your credit card, he’s not Santa Claus. You want to KNOW Him, really KNOW Him.

Before Youth with a Mission, I was also running 2 businesses – I wanted to be rich. But when I joined YWAM, I didn’t want that any more. I said, “God, just let me tell others about you.” God said, “No, I want you to walk with me – and I will provide for you.”

Jesus wants YOU to come to HIM and ask Him. Don’t ask for THINGS. NO!

Ask God that whatever you do, each step you take, you will get to know HIM. You want to know the character of God.

If I preach to you anything other than Christ and him crucified, I’m not preaching the gospel!

So, in the US, I’m working my butt off, got my GED, in church, praying, and started going to college. By the time it’s all over, I have 4 college degrees and 1 doctorate degree.

Merchant sailor -> Missionary -> washing dishes -> 4 college degrees -> Doctorate = WOW! That’s God.

When I studied Algebra, I thought, “What does this have to do with serving God?”

You know what he said to me?

“Obedience is better than sacrifice.”

So, now, here I stand. I have my wife (American – surgery nurse), 3 children (one with a Master’s, one with a Bachelor’s, and my son, 19, will be a second year in college). I’m taking my son with me – we are going to China and then Singapore.

This faith in my life is just a journey.

But let me share this Scripture about prayer.

You think, “Yeah, you tell us all these fantastic stories, and think Wow! But let me tell you, God puts me in places where He’s all I’ve got – I have to hold on to Him alone. I want to tell you that this Scripture is TRUE.”

I spent 3 years in Seminary – and one of my professors told me, “Anything you lean on outside of Christ is a bruised reed.”

Looking at this Scripture and seeing what he said, I remember sitting in that class, lecture after lecture, and he really touched me. Everything he lectured on, at the end of the lecture, he ALWAYS pointed you to Jesus Christ. I said, “Lord, I want to be like that man. When I teach, I want to point them to the Lord. Help me, in anything I say or do, that it will point them or move them to You.”

If you can bring someone to the knowledge of Christ and they can receive his power, what have you NOT done for them? This is the epitomy of life!

Remember, Jesus is GOD! – He can do anything he wants. He can take a Merchant Sailor from a ship to the US and change his life and change his mind. Is that not the God you want to worship, serve, learn from, KNOW?

But there’s something you must have that every Christian must have: a revelation of who he is.

When you go to God and pray, this Scripture is saying, “Ask, seek, knock.”

I want to leave this with you.

  1. GO TO GOD (empty) – Today –
  2. Empty your mind, your desires, (this takes a lot of thinking) – surrender your ambitions, dreams, everything.
  3. Say, “Lord, I want to come to you. I want to KNOW you.”

You know, many people see this Scripture as a license to ask for “things.” NO. Every Christian must do this – this is the message I must preach, I always preach.

Every Christian must go to God and SEEK him, and ASK him, and KNOCK and say, “Jesus, I want to KNOW YOU.” (The King of Kings, Maker of Heaven and Earth – He said “Let there be LIGHT!”)

You know how I have faith? When I go out into the sun, I say, “WOW! My God SPOKE that sun into existence!! Wooo!~” You cannot stand still!

That’s the God I pray to, the Jesus I worship~!

  1. Ask, seek, knock = “I want to KNOW You.”
  2. Then, when you know him, ask, “NOW, lead me.”
  3. And watch Him lead you.

My story:

  • “God, which college do you want me to go to?” I had no money.
  • “Go to that one.” (Lee University – Cleveland, TN)
  • I drove over there, to O’Cobey Street – and I drove my truck into a spiritual curtain – they gave me full scholarships – every semester. God provides! Ask Him to show you who he is!
  • So, in my church now in the US, I run a prayer ministry.

Let me tell you about the US. The church is very powerful in the world. It is very strong in the Word of God – I’ve studied much good literature from the West. The worship is also very good – good music. Lacking in Prayer.

  1. Word is good.
  2. Worship is good.
  3. Lacking in Prayer.

What I’m trying to do in my local church – I learned from Pastor Daniel Park (Koreans are a very strong praying culture) – we cut off the TV, go to work, go to church, fast on Tuesdays, pray from 7pm-10pm on Fridays.

I’m trying to cultivate the spirituality in my life that we don’t have.

You know, when you are in a comfortable place in your lives, you forget to pray to God. At first, when life is HARD, you pray A LOT. But as God starts to bless you, you forget to pray.

So, I’m trying to cultivate fasting and prayer. I want to do an altar call (come forward and pray for you). I want to leave the core of prayer to be IN YOUR LIFE.

When you are in a difficult situation (being from another culture is very difficult, very scary), just find a place where you can GO and PRAY and ASK God.

  • Don’t ask, “God, get me out of here!”
  • Rather, ask, “God, what are you doing? Speak to me!”

Before I became a Christian, I was living in Asia.

Buddhists pray to idols, Catholics pray to Mary.

A Christian brother once told me, “Merv, YOU can hear the voice of God!” What? God speaks? Wow! I did not KNOW that! I thought it was a one-sided conversation. No! It’s a relationship. He’s not an idol! He’s a person! He loves me, He loves YOU! He wants you to come to Him.

When I’m in prayer, God shows me a little bit of his holiness. I had to turn off the cable. (And God sent me $150 – the cable fee).

When God says, “I don’t want you to be there” listen! When you start to SEEK God, to KNOW God, you stand there, stay focused on Him, and depend on Him to lead you and get you out of there.

There was a time when I was so angry at church. Mad at a brother in church. My professor said, “Merv, take your eyes off the situation, and shift your focus to Jesus.” (Wow, after my 30 minute complaint).

Now, I tell everybody, ASK, SEEK, KNOCK, and FOCUS on Jesus. He knows the plan! Why do you worry?

When God wants to open a door, he can do it in a second. He can do anything for you. You don’t serve a lame duck God. No! He is the Maker of Heaven and Earth! If you say, “Merv, or James” the devil says, “Who cares?” But if you say, “Jesus”, the devil must go.

  • But do you KNOW the Jesus you talk about?
  • Do you KNOW his character? Do you KNOW Him (not just ABOUT Him)?
  • If you say, “Come, let me show you Jesus” that’s what you want.

If you want to come up here and ask this one question to the Lord, “Lord, I want to know you, and I want the annointing and hunger to PRAY to you.” A praying person is a powerful person. A praying Christian is a powerful Christian. I want to cultivate that in my life.

Let’s have the musicians come up and I’ll pray. Let me ask the Lord to give you a personal touch for prayer in your life. Come up to the front.

Let’s pray.

  • Aug 16 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Living in the Truth (John 8:31-32)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

Living in the Truth (John 8:31-32)

08.16.2015

08.23.2015-PHeo

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Living in the Truth

John 8:31-32 (Missionary Chung Woo Chun)

The Children of Abraham

31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”


Today’s message is presented by a Korean missionary to Cambodia – living with his daughter and wife: Chung Woo Chun

I regret accepting the offer of Pastor Heo to preach here in English – I’m nervous. I’m a Korean missionary to Cambodia – 11 years. Over there, I speak in Cambodian language except when I talk to my family in Korean. For the past 10 years, I didn’t even preach once in English. Years ago, I did ONE sermon in English during my missionary training in the Philippines. Yet, I respect Pastor Heo, so I accepted his offering. Also, I’m here to preach the Word of God, not show my proficiency in English. So, even if my English is not perfect, please be generous to me – take what you can from my preaching.

I want to have a special song through my daughter (she may be more trembling than me). The name of the song is “Father God on the Mountain” – by Linda (a black person) I was impressed by her singing so I had my daughter learn this. I lived in the countryside for 10 years, so I’ve never had a chance to send my daughter to an international nor English school (too far, too expensive) – so I sent her to public school and they taught her American pop songs – so I said, “You’d better sing gospel songs with the pop songs.”


She’s waiting for an “encore” but you didn’t say “encore…”

The title of my sermon is “Living in the Truth.”

On this planet, there are so many people living (7 billion) – I checked on my smartphone. If we divide them into two categories, there are “believers” and “non-believers.” But in the world – in the non-believers, there are also two groups “normal” and “below average”.

  1. Normal = normal attitude, citizenship, good manners, they don’t believe in Christ.
  2. Below average = the one next door in my apartment – from 9am he starts murmuring and shouting and talking loudly and shouting until 2-3am. Next door, we cannot sleep. Downstairs, there’s another one, talking to himself (I thought it was a phone call – but maybe he’s an alcoholic). Outside too, there was one drinking alot and singing Korean pop songs – until 3-4am. These people are mentally ill or disabled mentally or in their bodies.

You can also find this kind of two groups among politicians, businessmen, etc, in society. They are so WICKED. They make other people uncomfortable, unhappy, damaged, etc.

In Cambodia, 30 years ago, there was Polpot, a politician – an extreme communist. He made many people die – he killed many people – many people are still suffering from the traumas he made. (1 out of 4-5 people he killed – almost EVERY family has suffered from his policies – even now they suffer from traumas).

Even now, among our own businessmen and politicians, they make so many people unhappy – these are “below average.”

Yet, the “normal” people we often see at the park, or the foot of the mountain, wearing beautiful clothes, exercising, enjoying the group activities, folk songs, etc. Yet, they never know Jesus.

The third group is us. We are Christians. The Christians should live not by instinct or emotion or human thought and philosophy, but by the Word of God. That’s the kind of Christians we are.

When I go to the park, I can meet someone who is enjoying exercise. Among them, I can find “special” men – shut mouth, black glasses, square face and jaw, and exercising enthusiastically – “no one get in MY way! no room for others” – he’s just busy for himself. Outwardly, they look like they have no problems, yet, inside, they live by themselves, completely alone – not thinking about spiritual things, nor others, only “I’m busy.”

Yet, we are Christians. We must think first of : God, then of : others. 

The will to live – we must follow the Word of God. So, we must understand it thoroughly. Therefore I chose this passage.

Here in v. 31, the Bible says “to the Jews who had believed in him” – this also means “to the Christians who had believed in him” (us). Like us, they know Jesus is the Savior/Son of God. Jesus says to them, “if you hold to my teachings, you are really my disciples.”

There are the two categories outside of Christ. Even inside the church there are two types of groups:

In the mission field:

  1. The crowd
  2. The disciples

When I go outside with simple medicine for parasites and colds. I go to give the gospel. I can meet the crowd easily (20, 30, 40 people). It’s so easy to meet them. But they are not disciples. They are the crowd.

  1. Crowd = they come to Jesus (or a missionary/Christian/etc) and take what they want for their physical demands and then they return to their sinful nature. They do not take responsibility nor take up their own cross for the glory of God. They just want to satisfy themselves and return to their “normal” lives.
  2. Disciples = they came to meet their physical demands in the beginning, yet as they listen to the Word of God, they become “Christians” more and more. Christians = followers of Christ/God. They have the mindset to take responsibility in their daily lives.

I baptized more than 300 people, but I think from them, my disciples only number 50 or less. 

So, actually, the work of a missionary is not easy. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit can a missionary do his mission. As the time goes, I really feel like the time is so difficult and I want to go back to Korea. Yet, I know the truth, “You do not work by your own power, but by the power of the Holy Spirit.” I know the Word, so I can continue in my mission. This is why we all must cling to the Word of God. This Word of God must be saturated in our bodies. The only way we can overcome the world is through the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.

When I observed my friends, pastors, who led their church successfully – the MOST successful pastors are those who TEACH the Word of God best. I taught as well, using instances from their daily lives to get them to understand more easily and then I teach and teach from the Word of God.

Everyone of us should be born again, but being born again is the work of the Holy Spirit. The role of the missionary/pastor/teacher is to TEACH the Bible – explain the Bible. So, we must be saturated by the Word of God and pray continuously and be indwelt by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Story:

In the church, 1 is a member of the crowd, 1 is a disciple. Why? What’s the reason to stay in the crowd? What’s the reason to transition to disciple?

Since Adam and Eve ate the fruit of Good and Evil, man was thrown out of the realm of God and into the realm of the world. We became accustomed to our own self-centered thoughts. Therefore, even though we may hear the truth of God, we do not want to give up our own self-centered thoughts.

Yet, someone overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit, he realized that he was a sinner, and he repented and got help from the power of the Holy Spirit, and he became a child of God.

I had the experience before coming to Korea, I made a trip to America (California) to see my cousin. She invited my family for 20 days and because I’m a pastor, I was interested in their lifestyles, their way of living. In 2 days in Disneyland, and CA, I found big differences (Cambodia vs. USA).

In only 2 days, I flew from Cambodia to USA from darkness to light. From death to life. Cambodian people may feel sorry for me, but that’s the truth.

  • Cambodian society = self-centered.
  • USA = more God-centered.

Yet, the USA is rapidly changing from believer to non-believer, yet from the beginning, the country was founded on the Word or God – the whole country/system was imbued with the Word of God.

  • In Cambodia, car first.
  • USA, human first.

I love Cambodia also, but in Cambodia, as we walk down the street, the driver almost kills us just walking down the street. There’s no respect for others.

In the USA, after 54 years, I finally saw, as I crossed the street, even from 5 meters away, the cars stopped… WOW. They respect the law of the nation AND respect others. Where are these good values from? From the Bible, I believe.

This is very interesting, and I learned a big lesson.

How about Korea? Sometimes cars, sometimes man (mostly cars…)

Why am I telling you this? Because one family, one country, one nation, ALL people, if they live by the Word of God, they live a God-centered life. That’s why their lives are different.

I’m a pastor and missionary and am pleased to be a Christian and am pleased to learn the truth (right from wrong) from the Word of God. That’s WHY I can lead not only myself, but also others to the light.

So the happiest time in my mission field is teaching the Bible, and then taking a shower, and then sitting down before the fan (시원해). It’s soooo hot over there….

The difference between Cambodia, Korea, and the USA I told you, but we also must live a God-centered life in our daily lives.

In order to be a disciple, we must DO one thing. ONE thing. Take up our cross that God gave us. 

Why be one member of the crowd? They listen to the Word of God a lot. They are a member of the crowd because they do not give up their selfishness in their daily lives.

My own mother, 86 years old, is getting weaker and weaker every year, I came back 1-2 times to check on her health. My 4 brothers should help take care of her in my place. My brothers and sisters say “Sorry, I cannot take care of our mother.” So I said, “Fine, let’s take her to Cambodia and take care of her there.”

One of my friends said, “Please, just entrust her to the silver hospital” but I refused because I love my mother.

Following Jesus Christ is the SAME. 

The one who loves Christ the most can take care of the cross Christ has given him. The one who loves Christ the most takes the cross before him.

The mission field is not stable. When the law of immigration is changed, when the politics change, you don’t know. When they want to drive us away, we do not know. But, I trust God, he will take care of us.

“God on the mountain is still God in the valley.”

Surely if God cares for us in our triumphs, he will care for us MORE in our tragedies.

Two weeks ago, I met a lady who wanted to be a missionary. I said, “Are you checking yourself, when you see a difficult thing, are you the kind of person who does it FASTEST? Faster than others?” The difficult thing, the complicated thing is NOT attractive, you don’t gain fame, you must lose your ego, you can be despised. Yet, can you do it? Are you the kind of person who sits in the living room while your mother washes dishes, or are you the kind of person who GETS UP and washes the dishes?

I’m not saying whether or not you’re qualified or not, but you need to check yourself. Many people romanticize “mission work” yet – you must become a BEGGAR. This is not a romantic thing. To help others live better lives, we must take on more difficulties. In the beginning, they do not know, yet it takes 7 years of teaching, giving, helping, planting, and then they eventually begin to realize the difference – what is right, what is wrong.

When I traveled to the USA, one of my disciples came to my house and gave me some money he prepared. I took it fast because I feared that he would take it back. I saw inside, $100 (this was 80% of his monthly salary). A normal missionary would give him it but, but I’m “evil” so I took it. I understood he invested in God, not in man (and actually, he took/borrowed a lot from me). I’m not the kind of person who believes in give-and-take. But I teach them offering, how to help them, how to live God-centered lives, how to live unselfish lives. Maybe when I return to Cambodia, I will repay him more, but you need to understand that through the Word of God, man can be changed.

I also used to be an alcoholic – I should be like the “below average” alcoholic singing pop songs from dawn til dusk. Yet, I learned from God, his Word changed me, and now I can lead not only myself, but also other people.

In the countryside, every morning, I used to teach for 2 hours because over there, monks also taught 2 hours (otherwise they would think it was less important than it is).

Lessons:

  1. Be free from all kinds of powers of darkness by believing in the Word of God. THEN, you can help to set others free.
  2. To help them be free, we must take up our cross. To listen and forget, listen and forget, doesn’t work. We must listen and DO – take up our cross daily and follow him.

Everyone of us is a missionary in our daily lives.

My mother is the first generation Christian. She suffered so much difficulty in her life. My uncle’s family used to worship the ancestors 12 times per year. Yet, now in the end of her life, by the plan of God, she is going to Cambodia with her son. This is a blessing I think. Go over there, and pray and be a successful missionary as well. That’s what she wants to do.

As my mother – also in our lives, like the waves of the ocean, constantly, difficulties come up. But we must overcome them.

1 John 5 “Who is he who overcomes the world? The one who believes that Jesus Christ is the son of God.”

In my living room, there is a maxim from the Word of God (Matthew 6:33 “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and then ALL these things will be added to you as well.”)

In my difficulties, I don’t always think of others, I concentrate on the will and kingdom of God – and God solves the problem.

Hallelujah!

Like to Word of God, let’s overcome the world by depending on and believing the Word of God.

Let’s pray.

  • Jul 12 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Bear Good Fruit (John 15:1-8)
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Bear Good Fruit (John 15:1-8)

07.12.2015

07.12.2015

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Bear Good Fruit

Matthew 15:1-8 (Johannes K)

The Vine and the Branches

1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.


 

  • My first message here was based on John 3.
  • My second message was based on John 10 “We can have eternal life.”
  • Today, is from John 15 – so all are from the book of John.

On Jesus’ last night, when he finished the Last Supper, he taught to his disciples. This was his last opportunity to teach his disciples. Only about 6 hours from the time they finished dinner until his arrest – yet in this short time, he delivered a LONG message (John 13, 14, 15, 16).

So, this message is a very important last message from Christ. He gave many instructions.

He gave the commandment: Love one another; serve one another (he washed their feet). 

If you love me, keep my commandments.

In John 15, he expects us to bear good fruit. He wants us to bear good fruit.

What kind of fruit is your favorite? Delicious ones, right? Beautiful fruit. Our God expects this beautiful, tasty fruit out of us. Why should we bear fruit?

#1: God works hard to help us bear fruit

Because the farmer works hard so that he may bear fruit. The farmer loaded himself with two heavy pails of fertilizer and spreading it over the crops. Why do they work so hard?

Jesus said, “My Father is working hard until now, so I’m working.” Do you think our God is resting? No. He is working now from the Beginning, so I’m working. God is like a farmer who works hard to help us bear fruit.

#2: Jesus said, “I’m the true vine.” (agro ami – it is only I who are the vine)

If you are attached to this true vine, you can bear true fruit.

If the branches are connected to the tree, the branch automatically bears fruit. So, if you remain in me and I remain in you, you’ll bear fruit. Stay connected to Christ and bear fruit – he’s the True Vine.

#3: If we don’t bear fruit, God will cut down (trim/prune) the branches that don’t bear fruit.

This is a warning. God will cut down and throw away what doesn’t bear fruit (v. 2). Therefore it is necessary for the children of God to bear fruit.

v. 6 “If anyone does not abide in me, he is cast out as a branch that is withered and they gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”

Branches without fruit = rubbish – cast in the fire and burned.

God says he will send these “useless, worthless” people into the fire – no fruit? no use.

Matthew 3:10 “Even now, the axe is at the root of the tree and the trees that doesn’t bear fruit will be cut down.” (Matthew 7:19 also?)

#4: Only those who bear fruit in keeping with the Kingdom of God can ENTER into the Kingdom of God.

Matthew 21:43 “ Therefore, the KOG will be taken from you and given to the people who bear the fruit of the kingdom.”

Only those who produce fruit for the kingdom will enter the kingdom (be a PRODUCER, not a CONSUMER).

The parable of the Sower: 4 types of soil (this is like our heart)

Bad, Good, Rocky, Hard, Weedy soil

Some people’s hearts are soft, some hearts are hard, some hearts are full of thorns, some hearts are rocky. The first THREE types of soil failed to produce a crop.

  1. The hard path = eaten by birds – no buds even.
  2. The rocky soil = sprouted, but scorched by the heat – failed to grow.
  3. The thorny soil = sprouted, grew up with the weeds, but the weeds choked the good plant – it didn’t bear fruit.
  4. The GOOD soil = bore good fruit (callos = good outsides / appearance)

Matthew 13:23 “He who received the soil on the good ground is he who hears the Word and understands it and bears good fruit – he bears 100-fold, some 60-fold, some 30-fold.”

Matthew 8:13? “The good soil = a noble and good heart who hear the Word and retain it and by perseverance produce good fruit.”

Only these kinds of people are proper (qualified) for the Kingdom of God.

#5: Jesus Christ chose us (appointed us) so that we may go and bear much fruit.
John 15:10?

When we bear fruit, our God is glorified. We should bear fruit to glorify God.

Jesus wants us to bear good fruit. But he never really clarified (explained) what kind of fruit that is – not in detail – so I thought about it.

  1. Thanksgiving + Praise (Did you thank God this morning? Did you praise God? We should START our worship, prayer, etc with praise and thanksgiving. Did you do that? Everyday? So, sometimes, as I’m walking along, I think, ‘did I bear this fruit of thanksgiving today?’”)
  2. Submission, humility and love (There are many conflicts in the church – and in families, etc – we need submission! We live in the Age of Rebellion! Children rebel against parents; students rebel against teachers; citizens rebel against governments. We need submission, love, harmony.)
  3. Fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22-23 “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control.”) Do you have this kind of fruit?
  4. Fruit of Light (Eph 5:9 “The fruit of light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth.” Good deeds, kindness, righteous things, right things, – don’t do wrong things – no immorality, no deceit.) “Whoever does not practice righteousness is not from God.” This is the right thing to do. The fruit of the light = truth (in the moral sense – you should be trustworthy, reliable, etc). Sometimes it’s difficult to meet these kinds of people – but Christians should be this kind of person. ____11:1 “When we bear the fruit of righteousness, God is glorified.” Col 1:10? “That you may be fruitful in every good work and increase in the knowledge of God.” You see the tangible, concrete, grapes?  God also wants the tangible, concrete, visible results of our faith! If we do not have such fruit, we will be cut off and thrown into the fire.
  5. Fruit of Souls – preach the gospel, lead people to the Lord. There are many people in my mission field who do not know Christ (less than 0.1%). I passed by many villages and my pastor said, “There is not even ONE SINGLE believer in this village.” It’s very terrible. We should bear this fruit of salvation. Romans 1:13 “I do not want you to be unaware, my brothers, of my plan to come to Rome, that I might have some fruit among you, just as among the others.”

He wants the fruit of souls.

Romans 16:5 “Greet ___ who is the first fruit of ____ to Christ.”

He preached the gospel and got the person saved. This is the first fruit after he preached the gospel. God wants this kind of fruit.

  1. 1. Thanksgiving + Praise
  2. 2. Submission, humility, love
  3. 3. Fruit of the Holy Spirit
  4. 4. Fruit of Light
  5. 5. Fruit of Souls

Today’s verse shows the conditions needed to bear fruit:

1. To be clean

(God cleanses us to be clean and bear much fruit) We should be holy, clean, pure. Jesus said, “Our God is purifying us so that we may bear more fruit.” “You are ALREADY clean because of the Word I spoke to you.” (John 15:3)

If you have the Word of God, you become holy – it makes our behaviors, thoughts, actions holy, lives holy, souls holy. It makes us clean and holy – it removes dirtiness.

  • 7 deadly sins: Wrath, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, pride, sloth

We should remove, purge this kind of dirtiness and then we will be clean to bear fruit (God’s Word does this). Also “if anyone cleanses himself, he is a clean vessel, appropriate for the Master, and can bear good fruit.”

2. Jesus: “You must remain in me and you will bear much fruit.”

“As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, neither can you unless you abide in me. Without me, you can do nothing. If you do not abide in you, you are cast out into the fire and burned.”

What is the meaning of “remain in me”?

Totally depend on Christ – the branch cannot survive without the tree – so we must be attached to the vine which is Christ. We must totally depend on Christ. The grace of God flows freely from the Lord.

Sometimes this is blocked by rubbish – treasures of lust, immorality, sinfulness, wickedness, etc.

We should totally depend on Christ: Matthew 18:3 “Truly, truly, unless you are converted and become little children, you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” I’m 55 years old, how can I be transformed into this little child? What is Jesus teaching by these Scriptures? We should be powerless, ignorant, weak, except by Jesus’ power. “Please, help me! I cannot do this without you!” You should be like a child. “Father, help me!”

I’m helpless, I have many problems. God help me. Be like a child, totally depend on our Lord. This is to “abide in Christ.”

If you want to get into Christ, leave all the earthly, secular things behind. You want to enter into a relationship with Christ and “remain with him”? You cannot do so with earthly, dirty things and thoughts. Leave them all behind to stay in Christ. You cannot get into a relationship with Christ with sinfulness, wickedness, etc.

Luke 14:33 “If you do not forsake all that you have, you cannot be my disciples.”

Another condition for bearing fruit?

#3: If you abide in me and MY WORD abides in you, you will bear much fruit.

We should always, ever have the Words of God in our hearts – meditate on it everyday. And obey his Words.

We have learned much of the Bible, we know much of the Scriptures, but still, few people keep the words of God.

“If you love me, keep my commands.”

This is not my word, it comes from God above, it comes from heaven. How can you dare disobey the words from heaven? These words I speak to you are from my Father in heaven, so you should keep these words from heaven.

#4: Ask whatever in my name

Pray – God works through our prayer. We should ask through our faith to God and he will reply. We should pray. Whenever I have a big task, I ask my family of believers to pray for me. If they do not pray for me, it is very hard for me to work – but if they pray, GOD works – I feel it. He works through me.

So, we should pray to bear much fruit.

Conclusion: v. 8

“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing youselves to be my disciples.” This proves that you are truly my disciples.

No fruit? No disciple.

The visible, tangible, beautiful fruit from us is what God really seeks. Yes, your activities and programs in church are good, but God wants to see FRUIT.

God is a powerful God and he will use us so that we may bear much fruit.

How many grapes does the vine bear? So many.

Let’s pray.

  • Dec 14 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Purify and Get Ready for Tomorrow (Joshua 7:6-15)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

Purify and Get Ready for Tomorrow (Joshua 7:6-15)

12.14

12.14.2014-R.Ahn

Sermon Notes

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Purify and Get Ready for Tomorrow

Joshua 7:6-15 (Rev. Ahn Choongsik)

6 Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell facedown to the ground before the ark of the LORD, remaining there till evening. The elders of Israel did the same, and sprinkled dust on their heads.7 And Joshua said, “Ah, Sovereign LORD, why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan! 8 O Lord, what can I say, now that Israel has been routed by its enemies? 9 The Canaanites and the other people of the country will hear about this and they will surround us and wipe out our name from the earth. What then will you do for your own great name?” 10 The LORD said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? 11Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymoreunless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction. 13 “Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: That which is devoted is among you, O Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove it. 14 ” ‘In the morning, present yourselves tribe by tribe. The tribe that the LORD takes shall come forward clan by clan; the clan that the LORD takes shall come forward family by family; and the family that the LORD takes shall come forward man by man. 15 He who is caught with the devoted things shall be destroyed by fire, along with all that belongs to him. He has violated the covenant of the LORD and has done a disgraceful thing in Israel!’ “


 

This is the third week/day of Advent. This Scripture we read isn’t really related. So, why did I choose it? Here’s the reason:

One day the Lord said to Moses, “Go up the Abraham’s mountain and look over the land I’m giving to the Israelites. After you’ve seen it, you’ll die. Take Joshua and place your hand on his head – he will be your successor.”

Joshua was a great man in many ways.

  1. A field commander in the battle against the Ammonites
  2. Moses’ helper, they went to the Mt. to get the 10 Commandments
  3. Joshua stayed in a tent for leadership service all the time
  4. He was one of 4 spies sent to explore the land of Canaan
  5. He was one of 2 spies that said, “Don ‘t be afraid of the people over there. The Lord is with us and has defended us – so don’t be afraid.”

Joshua was the right person to lead the people to the Promised Land. He was a man of responsibility and faithful to obey God’s commands, and a faithful person to keep his own promises at the risk of his own life.

But he was in danger here by the battle with the Ammonites. He sent some men from Jericho to explore the land. They reported back to him, “There is no need for everyone to attack – send only about 2-3,000 people. It is not a large city.” So he did, but the outcome was totally unexpected. They were driven away and chased away by the people.

36 people were killed and the Israelites lost their courage.

Joshua and the Israelites tore their clothes in grief and laid before the ark of the covenant until evening, praying, “Lord, why did we even come across the Jordan? Are you handing us over to the enemies? Why did we not stay there? What can I say Lord, we’ve retreated and everyone else in the country will hear about this. They will surround us and kill us all. And what will you do to protect your honor?”

This is a prayer of extreme heartbreak and sadness. This is (he’s worried) the cause of God’s dishonor. He’s worried that the people might back down from God’s given Promised Land.

God said, “UP! Why are you lying down?”

Here’s the cause:

  • God didn ‘t leave them alone, rather the people broke the agreement with the Lord that God ordered them to keep. The cause of defeat = Israel has sin.
  • God told Joshua the sins in detail: thievery, lies, put the possessions in their own houses.

Why did God rebuke Israel with such strong language? Go back to the story of Jericho. On the 7th day, they marched around the city 7 times and the men shouted and the trumpets blasted and Joshua said, “EVERYTHING must be destroyed in the city as an offering to the Lord. Do not take anything from the city or you will bring destruction upon Israel. All bronze, silver, gold, and iron is the Lord’s to be put into his treasury.”

The Lord knew that the Israelites (who had nothing in the wilderness – houses, suits, silverware, etc – after 40 YEARS of this) would eye the decorations and keep them…

Jericho was a once great city and it means “City of Gardens”? It’s a very rich city.

According to Luke, there was a chief tax collector named Zaccheus – he stood up and said to the Lord, “Listen, I will give half of my belongings to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone, I will pay him back 4x as much.”

He made so much money because this city he worked in was an important city on a trade route that joined east and west. Many merchants were passing through the route and he collected money from not only store owners, but also the foreign traders.

The Lord wanted his people to stay away from that kind of way of life – cheating and greed. If they were involved in that kind of life, they would be unable to live the kind of life that God had called them to. This is why the Lord spoke so strongly to the Israelites.

The next morning, Joshua called ALL of the Israelites out and found out Achan. He said, “Confess before the Lord – don’t hide what you’ve done.” Achan answered “It’s true, I’ve sinned. I took a beautiful coat, 2kg of silver, and 1/2kg of gold.” Joshua sent some men to the tent and found that stuff under the tent. The men of Israel seized Achan, the stuff, all his possessions, and his family and told him, “Why have you brought such trouble upon us? Now the Lord will bring trouble upon you.” The people then stoned and burned him and his whole family and all his possessions.

What’s the meaning today? Why so cruel to Achan and his family?

This is a relationship between the individual and the community in which that individual belongs. For example, Achan’s greed doesn’t just affect HIM, but also the ENTIRE community.

  • The Lord said to Joshua very clearly, “I will not stay with you any longer unless you destroy all the things you were ordered not to take.” The Lord chose the community as a whole and not just the individual.
  • The Lord said to the NATION, “I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you, and through you I’ll bless all nations.”

In the spring of this year, remember the Sewol sinking? The captain’s mistake became a national disaster – grief, anger, distrust, are a national wound. Individuals within the community cannot be separated from the community. The greed, sin of an individual affects the WHOLE community.

The Lord wanted to get the whole community of Israel ready and pure before him to meet him tomorrow. He said, “You have some things in your possession which I told you not to take. You cannot stand before your enemies before you deal with your sin.”

Remember the Beatitudes?

  1. Blessed are the meek, they will inherit the earth.
  2. Blessed are the hungry and thirsty for righteousness, they will be filled.
  3. Blessed are the merciful, they’ll get mercy.
  4. Blessed are the pure in heart, they’ll see God.

That the Lord demanded purity is related to these things. The Lord said, “I won’t stay any longer unless you purify yourself from your sins.”

The way of purity for ourselves is cutting off our desire and self. Cut off the one who sees greed and is not truly a community member.

Zaccheus – after he spoke his promise and confession, Jesus said, “Salvation has come to this house today for he is also a descendant of Abraham.” The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.

How does a hunter capture a monkey?

  1. Make an iron box
  2. Put many fruits into the box
  3. Monkeys see the fruit and stick their hands into the box to get the fruit
  4. The hole in the box is just the size of his fist
  5. Because of his character, the monkey cannot take out the fruit one by one – he uses the monkey’s character of greed to catch the monkey

(Same way they used to catch racoons in America)

Do you want Jesus to stay in our hearts and minds and remain in our families and work places and homes? Purify your hearts and your homes. Repent and confess like John the Baptist declares.

The shopping malls and music and decorations are out there waiting for shoppers, not for Jesus. Let us purify ourselves and wait for Jesus. Let’s cut off all our material greed and consumerism and prepare for his coming.

Let’s pray.

  • Nov 30 / 2014
  • Comments Off on Give Thanks to God (Psalm 107:1-8)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

Give Thanks to God (Psalm 107:1-8)

11.30

11.30.2014-R.Ahn

Sermon Notes

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Give Thanks to God

Psalm 107 (Rev. Ahn Choongsik)

BOOK V

Psalms 107-150

1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. 2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say this– those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, 3 those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south. 4 Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. 5 They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away. 6 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. 7 He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle. 8 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men,


 

Welcome Rev. Ahn Choongsik

This is today, between Thanksgiving (last Thursday in November) and Advent (the four weeks leading up to Christmas Day). This is a time to wait for the coming Jesus Christ. During this time, some people of faith fast, don’t eat meat, don’t pleasure themselves in some way, but pray for dependence and purity.

You may know this prayer/hymn about the long awaited news:

O Come, O Come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel…
To us the path of knowledge show and cause us in her way to go.
O Come desire of nations, and bind all peoples in one heart and mind…
Fill the whole world with heaven’s peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice!

In the history of Israel, they had been waiting for the Messiah for hundreds of years. Isaiah prophesied, “A child is born to us and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace.”  The Lord is determined to do all this. He is the reason that people of faith should examine our pasts as well as our futures to receive him.

Because of receiving Jesus Christ, John the Baptist said, “Turn from your sins, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”

What is sin? A wrong relationship with God. How many people today have a right relationship with God? Who brought us out of slavery?

Too many Christians seek a God who provides Material Possessions. Too many Christians worship idols (Baal – in old Israel, Jezebel worshiped and brought his idols into Israel). The Israelites worshiped the gods of the Gentiles and the ruler of the country used the religion as a means to control his people. Jeroboam worried about his people going back to the other kind Rehoboam (1 Kings). He thought if they had to go to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices, they might go back to Israel and follow Rehoboam (this was at the time that Israel was divided into Israel and Judah). Rehoboam led Israel and Jeroboam led Judah. So, he set up idols (two calves) for the people to worship in Judah.

However, the Lord was angry with this and sent them into exile in Babylon, Assyria, and Syria for 70 years.

“Comfort my people” says the Lord, “Tell them they suffered long enough and I have forgiven them. I have punished them enough for their sins.” (Psalm 105 mentions the eternal love and forgiveness of the Lord).

All of these events lead up to the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah concerning the Messiah.

Jeremiah says, “I will show you wonderous things you cannot know. I will purify them from the sins they committed against me. And I will forgive their sins and rebellion.”

This is not because of the righteousness and worthiness of the Israelites, but his grace, Deut. 7:7 “The Lord didn’t choose you because you outnumbered the other peoples, but the Lord loved you and wanted to keep the promise he made to your ancestors. This is why he saved you from the king of Egypt. Remember this: That the Lord your God is the ONLY God and that he is faithful.”

Sung MyungHee = a poet, 1953? born

Doctor’s mistake = her brain stopped for a whole afternoon when she was only one week old.

Because of her parents’ financial burden, she couldn’t get any care. So, the first 17 years of her life was absolutely miserable – suffering in pain in all parts of her body.

Finally, she found hope and purpose in Jesus. She had no formal education – even elementary level. Because of this, writing was not an easy thing to do, but she began to write anyway.

Despite all of this, she’s written 25 volumes of poetry so far.

Here is one of her most popular poems. I did my best to translate this into English – try to understand the gist of this:

Even I don’t have any treasures, no knowledge, no health that other people have, but I have something that others don’t have, what they can’t see. I heard the voice others couldn’t hear. I experienced the love and wonder of God that others couldn’t. I don’t have the things other people have. God, help me have the love you have that other people don’t have.

#2: We should sing thanks to God all together as a people

The Lord brought us up out of a foreign country. Did he do it because we were righteous or faithful or obedient? NO, just he loved us.

For the married couples:

  • What was the criteria to choose your spouse?

Maybe model beauty, smooth skin, big muscles, tight waist. If God used the same conditions, we would NOT now be his children.

Remember the prophecy that God told Samuel? He said to go to Bethlehem and choose one of seven sons of Jesse to annoint as the next king of Israel. He immediately thought “Surely the biggest, oldest, strongest is the one God has chosen.” The Lord said, “Nope~ I don’t judge as men judge – you look at his face and muscles, I look at his heart.”

Isaiah, “My thoughts are not like yours, and my ways are higher than yours.”

He has something different to see, some different way to look at us. This is why God’s salvation is his MOST PRECIOUS work.

I was a teenager in North Korea. One month in April, I met two South Koreans in the West Sea on an island. The same two brought my father to that island just two weeks sooner.

I had to choose whether or not to stay in North Korean or try to escape with them to the island.

After a few weeks, I realized what a refugee’s life was like: not enough food, no extra clothes, no dwelling place.

Later I met a South Korean student: He was so proud of his uniform and fancy hat, and the shoeshine boys who shined his shoes. I totally didn’t understand – I was like an alien in outer space. But now, I’m so thankful for who I am and what I’m doing. This is all because of God’s blessing.

I’m sure you also have heard the Thanksgiving story of the pilgrims – from England to America. During the voyage, 102 people struggled against wind, waves, disease, lost loved ones. Finally, they arrived on Dec. 21 in America.

Surely only winter and hunger would welcome them. Even on the last day of hopelessness, Spring would come. With the help of the Native Americans, they cultivated the wilderness and planted corn and shared something together.

Because of these serious difficulties, the crisis situation, they were so disappointed, and frustrated, they did praying and fasting, but their minds and hearts were not changed so much.

One farmer stood up and said, “Dear friends, we crossed the Atlantic Ocean and lost many friends. But God has provided more than we expected. We planted, he provided. Let us stop fasting and change our minds and hearts and be thankful to God.” They did. And invited the Native Americans, and they celebrated the first Thanksgiving together.

This shows the mercy and liberation of God from a crisis situation. This is a communal festivity. Psalm “Sing to the Lord all the nations, sing to the Lord with joy,… he made us and we belong to him, he made us and we are his flock.”

Nelson Mandela – in jail 27 times because he was opposed to apartheid. One journalist asked what his motivation was. He replied, “I don’t want a black country. I don’t want a white country. I want a country for all the people.” This is our problem in Korea as well. We’ve been divided by politics, families are divided, groups, churches, religions, and the whole nation is divided still.

What do you think of Korean thanksgiving? Is it good for God? Is he happy with it?

Letter:

“Once I prayed to God that he might change the world. However, today I’m looking down at the Hudson river from my house. It’s surrounded by beautiful trees and mountains and I’ve never felt so marvelous as I do now. During my darkest time in life, I would read the Bible so many times, but today I feel so much peace in my heart. I’m able to hear the spiritual voices through my spiritual ear. All of them were with me all the time, they are the source of my comfort whenever I need them.”

Dear friends, whether in Thanksgiving or Advent (waiting for Christ), THANKS is the foundation to worship Christ.

Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.

Let’s pray.

  • Oct 26 / 2014
  • Comments Off on The Lord is my Shepherd (Psalm 23)
Guest Speaker, Sermons

The Lord is my Shepherd (Psalm 23)

10.26

10.26.2014-R.Ahn

Sermon Notes

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The Lord is My Shepherd

Psalm 23 (Rev. Ahn Choongsik)

A psalm of David.

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.


 

This morning we have a special speaker: Rev. Ahn Choongsik

He has served as senior pastor in a Korean church in NY and as a seminary professor for many years. After retirement in the US, he came back to Korea to retire (also mobilize the Korean church and teach here as well – also in hospitals – he came from Seoul last night).


 

It’s a God given, gracious opportunity to meet you and greet you and share with you today.

There is a word “shepherd” is mentioned 500 times in the Bible.

  • They were shepherding for hundreds of years, so they were quite familiar with the role of a shepherd.
  • In Palestine, sheep are a very familiar animal – they are eaten as daily food, skins are used for clothing, also wool.
  • Sheep are very important and necessary animals for people in Palestine. This animal was also offered as a sacrifice, and they chose the BEST one to sacrifice.

Due to talking about sheep and shepherds, we must talk about both at the same time.

  1. There are many gentle animals in the world, but the sheep is incredibly gentle. Isaiah described the sheep “a lamb before the slaughter” (talking of Jesus).
  2. Of the shepherd, he goes out to find the lost sheep – the sheep is always protected by the shepherd – he couldn’t go out to find pasture or water by themselves.

As they were protected all the time, Ezekiel writes, “because the sheep had no shepherd, they were all scattered and the wolves killed and ate them.” This is why shepherds seek out their sheep.

Luke “Suppose one of you has hundreds of sheep, and loses one. What would you do? You’d leave the other 99 and go looking for the one who is lost until you find it. Once you find it, you’d be so happy that you’d call your friends and neighbors to celebrate. There will be more joy than this in heaven over one sinner who repents than over many who are righteous and do not need to repent.”

This parable shows the character of the shepherd – he will leave 99 and go looking for one. We should understand his love and mercy and sacrifice – that the prophet Isaiah has written of.

The prophet Isaiah wrote of God sending his only son to the world for us.

He gave himself for our salvation, for our freedom from bondage in sins, for our restoration in broken relationship with God, for our rescue from the belly of death.

Amazing story of Elizabeth – writer of they hymn “There were ninety and nine.”

“Lord, whence are those blood drops all the way that marks out the tracks. Then, will shadow for me the shepherd who could bring back. Lord, where are thy hands, wretched and atoned. Here appears tonight by many a thorn…”?

Elizabeth identified herself as a lost sheep, she understood that she was the lost sheep of Jesus Christ. She also understood that Jesus shed his blood on the cross for her salvation. The story of the lost sheep touched her heart and inspired her to write this poem.

1873, Moody was in England – with his reader Dave S… He was going to preach on this topic after a few days in Edinburgh, but had no good hymn to go along. By God’s providence, they found this poem in the newspaper at that time. They then prepared and performed the hymn for the congregation. What do you think most moved and touched the congregation? The voices? The music? The poem? All are partly true. But, it was the love and mercy of Christ that most moved and touched them.

Just like the lost sheep couldn’t come home by herself, but it depended on the willingness of the shepherd as well.

In the wilderness, the wolves would eventually kill the lost sheep.

In Psalm 23, David saw himself as the lost sheep, being protected by God all the time.

“He leads me beside quiet waters, he guides me into pasture. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not fear, for you are with me. Your rod and staff comfort me. You prepare a table for me before my enemies and my cup overflows.”

David was a WARRIOR and knew the triumph of victory. When returning home from battle, David had killed thousands of Philestines and the women came out from the towns and sang “Saul has slain thousands, and David tens of thousands.”

From that day, Saul sought David to kill him. So David fled and hid in Jeph? David saw that Saul was going to kill him – Saul was the king of Israel with all the power in the nation. But David’s most interesting thing was that God gave him the people and the nation of Israel.

David’s relationship with God was the most important part of his life. When he met Goliath, the Philestine called, “Hahah, have your ‘bravest warrior’ come down to meet me.” But David came and retorted, “You come against me with sword and spear, but I come after you in the name of the Lord God of Israel.”

David never broke his relationship with God, he was rather always dependent upon God. However, Saul didn’t listen to the prophets, nor commandments, so that the Spirit of God left him and his kingdom perished. In addition to this, he eventually took his own life. What’s his real problem? It’s described in 1 Samuel 15, “Which does the Lord prefer: obedience to the Lord or sacrifice? It is better to obey – rebellion is like idolatry and witchcraft. Because you rejected his commands, he has rejected you as king.”

We reviewed David’s relationship with God 3,000 years ago as well as Elizabeth’s in 1873. Where is God now? What is your conception of God? Think about it. Who is YOUR God?

Here’s my experience:

He’s been my God for my whole pastor’s journey, and will be with me in my future life as well. Like David, hiding in the wilderness, I also was hiding in an apple orchard in North Korea. My father and brother were in the house, and one afternoon 24 policemen came and encircled the house. A few hours before they came to search us.

Because of that, we were prepared at the critical moment. My friend was in the attic of the small room. My father was shoveled in the vegetable garden, my brother was laid down in the apple orchard. I was pretending to be a helper so I was in the living room with the grandparents. They searched us for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, a policeman came into the living room and went into the room where my friend was hiding. My heart stood still while the policemen are about to open the small door. The policemen tried to widen to gap between the bolt.

After a few minutes, he saw white bedding and shouted “Come out!” All 24 came to the living room and arrested them all. I was emotionally exhausted so like a stone.

Through the experience, I believe that God was with me during that critical moment. Not only then, but also all my life in the past. The only thing was, they couldn’t see me as one of the hiding people in the same house. Like David, I wasn’t handed over – I was like a lost sheep in the wilderness. I had no choice to do anything there. I prayed and asked God, “God of Israel, answer me!”

Later, in February, I met 2 officers from an island in the West Sea. They were the same two who took my father a few weeks ago. I had to decide to stay in North Korea, or go with the two officers to the island to escape North Korea. Either way, there is no guarantee.

But I was saved eventually.

Let’s look at Psalm 23 – David’s confession – “The Lord is my shepherd” – David did nothing for his own salvation – it was all done by the shepherd’s willingness. We must see that salvation belongs to our God 100%.

  1. Though David was a soldier, he didn’t depend on his military experience.
  2. Though a king, he didn’t depend on his power.
  3. Though a musician and poet, he didn’t depend on his own talent and ability.

The most important thing was his relationship with God.

His last words to his son Solomon clearly states the most valuable things to human beings, “My time to die has come – do whatever the Lord commands and obey all his commands. He will keep his promise when he found you that my descendants would rule the land as long as they serve him with all their hearts and spirits.”

This statement shows us his relationship with God and what he was most concerned about.

Now, I’m worried that you will ask me, “Did you obey all the commands in the Bible?” No, that’s why I need his love and mercy as a lost sheep. But I have some things to tell you proudly.

The North Korean govt told all the schools that the children must choose either church OR the school. If he wants religious freedom, you give up educational freedom. This is why I don’t have a middle school certificate.

Friends, don’t misunderstand. I had a strong face as a teenager? No, God protected me from cutting off my relationship with God entirely. Isaiah says, “But you Israel, are my servant, you are the people I’ve chosen – you are descendants of my friend Abraham. I brought you out of slavery and made you my servant. I didn’t reject you, but chose you. Do not be afraid – let nothing terrify you. I will make you strong and help you – I will protect you and save you.” We are all like lost sheep, but are not afraid of anything. The Lord Almighty will protect us and be will us even in the wilderness.

May God bless you, thank you.

Let’s pray.

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