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Archive for August, 2011

Although we cannot see God…

Word of God: John 14:8-9
Title: Althoug we cannnot see God…
Introduction
This was a telephone conversation between John and me.

I: John, what are you doing?
John: I am playing. Daddy, what are you doing there?
I: I am working at church.
John: Are you washing dishes?

Am I washing dishes at church? Is that my job at this church? I thought why John said like that. Because he saw me washing dishes almost everyday at home, I think, he said like that.

Children like you think and say whatever they see as it is and whatever they hear as it is.

However, if we only think and say what we see, we cannot even say about the existence of the air. Can you see the air? We cannot see the air, even though it is right here. Then, do we have to say that the air is not here, because we cannot see it? No. Although we cannot see the air, we believe that the air is right here. Why? Because, without the air, we cannot live anymore.

Contents
1. Today’s bible story is like this.
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”

Who was Philip? Philip was one of Jesus 12 disciples. It means that he lived with Jesus for three years. During that time, Jesus taught about God and the kingdom of God. However, Philip did not really believe in God.

2.
We also sometimes hope and say, “I want to see God. If I see God, I’ll really believe in him.”
Philip saw and lived with Jesus Christ, but he wanted to see God.
How about us? We did not even see Jesus.
Do you believe in God? If you believe in God, your faith is really big and awesome.

3.
This conversation between Jesus and Philip was preceded by one important Jesus’ teaching which is very familiar to you.

Jesus said: “You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Thomas said: “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Then Philip said, “Show us the Father.”
Philip did not understand what Jesus said. Jesus said, if you knew me, you knew God. What does it mean? Jesus Christ is God and the Son of God.

3.
Who is blind man? They cannot see anything. However, although they cannot see what we see, they believe that it is what we see. Why? They also can touch it and feel it and smell it.

So, seeing is not the only one criterion to determine everything. This is just only one sense among many senses.

Even though we have eyes to see, we cannot see galaxies. The stars we see are just really little bit among many stars.

4.
After resurrection, Jesus showed up many disciples but Thomas did not see Jesus. When many disciples told him, “we have seen the Lord,” he said, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my had into his side, I will not believe it.”

A week later, Jesus came to disciples including Thomas and said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Then Thomas said “My Lord and My God.’
Jesus said, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’

Conclusion
No one here sees Jesus Christ, but we believe in God.
Belief has nothing to do with seeing but with accepting the one who is really our Father.
God wants you to believe in God in your whole life, although you cannot see him.

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“As a theological discipline dogmatics is the scientific self-examination of the Christian Church with respect to the content of its distinctive talk about God… Dogmatics is a theological discipline. But theology is a function of the Church” (Barth, Church Dogmatics, 3).

”Since Dogmatics is a theological discipline, and thus pertains solely to the Christian Church, we can only explain what it is when we have become clear as to the conception of the Christian Church” (Schleiermacher, Christian Faith, 3).

“The Three Publics of Theology: Society, Academy, and Church… Theology as a discipline has many peculiarities… [A]ll theology is public discourse” (David Tracy, The Analogical Imagination, 3).

If we see, which I call, the quotations of “Theology of page three,” whereas Barth and Schleiermacher consider theology as a discipline within the Christian Church, Tracy expands its area to socity and academy.

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“What contemporary theology needs, since it still cannot get by without the help of philosophy, is a system of concepts that takes science, religion, and all other modes of experience into full account.”

“Who can deny that the religious sensibilities of most people in the world remain most at home in a prescientific understanding of the universe? Theology has moved only slowly and often reluctantly away from the ancient cosmological assumptions in which it came to birth. And even where notional awareness has conceded the correctness of an evolutionary worldview, Christian spirituality still remains emotionally fastened to the pillar of permanence stamped into our consciousness long before the coming of modern science.” (John F. Haught, in Joseph A. Bracken, S.J., Christianity and Process Thought, x)

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Double Wishes

When Eunyou and John were babies, I wanted them to say even any word, saying that “If you say any word, I’ll give you some presents.” However, I am telling them nowadays, “Please be quiet. If you are quiet, I’ll give you presents for you.” 

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Word of God: Luke 13:18-21
Title: The Kingdom of God achieving Here and Now

Introduction
1.
I did not see foreigners like American people until entering university, because I had lived in a very small city, Andong, in Korea.
I did not even go to Seoul until entering university. It took just four or five hours by a car or a train from Andong to Seoul. Nowadays it takes at the most three hours.

It is the similar distance from LA to San Diego. Do you know how long it takes from here to San Francisco? 7 hours. I did not go even such a short distance at that time.

But now I live in America, so many friends of mine in Korea envy me, saying that I want to also go there. I have been living in America since 2003. But I do not know why America is the first country in the world in some ways. For example, in Korea, if we apply internet, we can use it on the same day. But in America, it takes three or four weeks. In this sense, I think, America is not the perfect country we really desire to live.

2.
Everybody wants to live in a wonderful land.
What would be a wonderful land? Disney Land, Lego Land, Wonder Land, Kid’s Place?
How many of you have gone there? Did you have good times? Do you want to live forever there?

However they are good places to have fun, we cannot live there forever. Although you think you can live there forever, if you are in my age, you cannot have fun anymore there.

Then where can we live forever without any boring or trouble? Although someone does not assure the right place, we must be certain that it is not this world.

Let me introduce the Kingdom of God. What is the kingdom of God like?
What kinds of image of the kingdom of God do you have?

Contents
1. Background:
1) Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to?”

Jesus said, ‘It is like a mustard seed.’ What does it mean? It means that it is very small. But when it grows, it becomes a tree, and the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.

Is a tree a tree from the beginning? No. It starts from a seed and grows like a tree.

2) Jesus asked again, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to?”
It is like yeast in the dough. What is yeast? It makes the dough swollen.
When I was a child, my mom sometimes made bread for us. It was made of flour and 막걸리. After preparing of it, my mom put it into a worm place in the room. A couple of hours later, the dough became swollen and became bread.

A seed and yeast are like the kingdom of God.

2.
We need to be a seed or yeast. We need to live like a seed or yeast wherever we are. If we live like a seed or yeast, the place where we are will grow like a tree and have fruits and become bread. It is the kingdom of God. This is revival.

Here, one important thing is this one. We need to make a distinction between plants and weeds.

If you read Matthew 13:36-43, you can find that distinction.
1) On the one hand,
The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man
The field is the world.
The good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom.

2) On the other hand,
The weeds are the sons of the evil one.
The enemy who sows them is the devil.

You can see difference here.

3) Harvest
The harvest is the end of the age.
The harvesters are angels.

At the end of the age and at the harvest, the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire.

Likewise, the Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will take everything that causes sin and all who do evil out of his kingdom.
Then they will throw them into the fiery furnace.

However,
The righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.

3.
It is not easy to make a distinction between plants and weeds, because they are very similar. Why do they seem to be similar?
We have to recognize that plants do not want to be like weeds, but the weeds look like plants.

Many bugs are in carpets in your home, my home and even here. A carpet does not look like a bug, but the bug looks like a carpet. If you catch a bug, its color is similar to the carpet’s color.

We need to remember that weeds are the sons of evil, and plants are the sons of God. Thus, the sons of evil and the sons of God live together. The sons of evil always bother the sons of God. This is the exact image of the world we live.

Conclusion
Are we the sons of evil or the sons of God?
Then how can we overcome or defeat the sons of evil?
We have to be awake not to be bothered from the sons of evil.

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Word of God: John 14:27
Title: True Rest and True Peace

Introduction

There are sufferings and death in the world. So many people say, “I am tired,” “I worry about my life,” or “I need to take a rest.” Everyone needs peace in one’s life.

Contents
1. Background:

The world also talks about peace. Korea, Japan, China, Russia, America, Afganistan, Europe, Africa. Every country and everyone in the world talk about peace and want to be peaceful. But, is there real peace in the world? Why can we not find true peace in the world?

9/11 in America
Zunami in Japan
Famine in N. Korea

Why?

We have to recognize that although this world has been attempting to make peace, human beings cannot achieve true peace, because true peace is not from the world.

Can you give me peace? Can I give you peace? Can you buy peace at Target, Walmart, or Vons? No, we cannot get it any store in the world.

John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

What does it mean? The peace which God gives to us is the true peace. It is God’s peace and heaven’s peace. In order to be peaceful, we have to go to God and we have to believe in God.

2.
Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Who is weary and burdened? Everyone is weary and burdened. You look very tired. So we have to go to Jesus and receive his rest. It is enough.

However, there are following two verses more, 29-30.
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

If we read just by 28, we are very comfortable. Why? We are burdened, so Jesus gives us true rest if we go to him.
However, 29-30 verses make us uncomfortable. Why? Jesus says, “take my yoke upon you.” We need rest. We need peace. But Jesus says, take my yoke.

What is yoke?
“A yoke is a wooden beam, normally used between a pair of oxen or other animals to enable them to pull together on a load when working in pairs, as oxen usually do.”

This is yoke. We need peace. We need rest. But he wants to give this yoke to us. We can think: it doesn’t make sense. We need not yoke but rest. If we have the yoke, we cannot take a rest.

However, rest does not mean any lazy rest without any action (like death), but rest with some action which God gives us.

Thus, the yoke which Jesus gives us is neither difficult nor heavy, but easy and light. The yoke can lead us into a right direction, so it gives us true peace.

3.
Isaiah 11:6-9 shows us the image of the peace.
6) The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.
7) The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8) The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest.
9) They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

Is it impossible to achieve this peaceful place? Yes and No.
It is impossible to do that in the world.
It is possible to do that in heaven.

That means we cannot find true peace in the world.

Conclusion
Are you in trouble? Are you unhappy? Sometimes someone bothers you? Are you worried about peace of home?

If you say “yes” at least to one of those questions, you want to have peace. If so, go to God and pray to God. God listens to your difficulty and gives you true peace.

Because God is our Father, God knows you and me. God can do everything.

Where can you find real, true peace? Only from God.

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