July 5th Worship Service: “Freedom For Others”

You can watch the service by pressing the play button above. You may view the service in ‘full-screen’ by pressing the F key on your keyboard after clicking play. Alternatively, the service is available on YouTube via this link: https://youtu.be/usSPy2E-G0M

We are excited to be able to remain connected during this challenging time. Feel free to share the service with friends and family.
Enjoy & please subscribe to our YouTube channel and encourage others to do so, and please also leave a comment at the bottom of the video (after the video is done you’ll see an area right below the video for comments).
Send prayer requests and announcements to the church office if you would like to be included in next week’s virtual service.
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July 05, 2020 [Green]
Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Romans 7:15-25a; Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

 Freedom For Others

 Celebration of freedom

This week, we celebrate the 4th of July – Independence Day – “Freedom” from the oppression of England! While celebrating this national holiday, we remember our forefathers, who didn’t have freedom, had to pay a terrible price in their revolutionary wars, so that we could become citizens of this land of freedom. Without their sacrifice and dedication, we wouldn’t be enjoying and celebrating our freedom today.

Once people had to fight for freedom. It’s now a word on everybody’s lips. Unfortunately, this word “freedom” is something that our forefathers never thought of. Today it means “Don’t tell me what I can do!” In these words, I can feel a strong sense of freedom for oneself but not a spirit of commitment to others.

There are specific times in our lives when we experience an expansive sense of freedom. One of the times that I remember is when I was entering college as a freshman. My parents and I drove to my dormitory to take my stuff in, and then I was watching my parents drive back home. Another time for me was when I received my driver’s license. Suddenly I felt free. I was no longer limited to walking or riding my bike. I felt like the whole world was mine alone. I had access to a car, and I could travel to wherever I wanted to go. The freedom that I experienced when I was young was about “I am free from my parents and their house rules!” I only thought of how I could enjoy my life, but I didn’t think about my duty for my parents or others.

“Don’t tell me what I can do.” You can say those words to your parents, your family, your friends, and your neighbors. Nobody has a right to tell you to do this and that. You have to shoulder your own life and yes, you can do whatever you want to do. But can you really say to God, “Don’t tell me what I can do?” Can you really say to God, “This is my life and I don’t need your help.” In some movies, we might see a man who looks at the sky and says, “Don’t tell me what I can do,” and then move on to take a risk or go on an adventure. This guy looks very heroic and even charming to us. But if we truly understand our Christian faith, we know how arrogant and foolish he is.

God’s divine gift

As you know, Christian faith begins with the confession that God is our Creator and we are his children; Jesus is the Savior and we owe him the gifts of God’s salvation and eternal life: “God demonstrates his love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:80). If we truly believe that salvation, (freedom or liberation) is God’s gift through Jesus Christ our Savior, how can we say to God, “Don’t tell me what I can do,” instead of “Tell me, Lord, what I can do for you.”

Yes, it is true that you have freedom to choose things you like. You have the freedom to do whatever satisfies your desires. But you also have the freedom to dedicate your life to others. We know that the latter is better than the former, but it (dedication) is hard to choose and practice because it is against our selfish nature . But we know the life of dedication is the true freedom that Jesus wants us to have if we want to be his disciples.

In today’s text from Romans, the Apostle Paul makes it clear that true freedom (life of dedication) is only found in Jesus Christ. Once he confessed that he was a slave of his own evil nature: “I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members” (v. 23). In his desperation Paul sounds unable to do any more to free himself from his own sinful and selfish nature, so he cries out “Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (v. 24) Then immediately he sounds the trumpet of victory, by saying “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (v. 25a). Paul reveals the good news that Jesus Christ sets us free from our own sinful and selfish nature, so that we may live a new life of dedication.

For Paul, true freedom was a divine gift that God offered through Jesus Christ our Savior. This gift of freedom makes us live the life of Jesus Christ our Savior. In this gift of freedom, we are willing to see all people as equal in God’s eyes; we are willing to respect and honor their dignity, regardless of who they are and what they do; we are willing to build up our communities, so that not only we, but many others can live well and thrive together.

This freedom of dedication is what Paul celebrates in this text. And it could be the freedom we celebrate as we commemorate this Independence Day. The freedom we enjoy today is due to someone’s sacrifice and dedication. Think about this. If everybody lives only for their own selfish desires, saying “Don’t tell me what I can do,” we know that we might all fail in the end. If we want to live well together, we know we have to live for others, saying “What can I do for you?”

Here is what we Christians are called to do. When others shout “Don’t tell me what I can do!” we should say “Tell me, friends, what can I do for you?” Only in this dedicated life, we can make our world better and help many people rejoice in their lives. And let us remember we can live this life of freedom, salvation, and dedication only when we submit our hearts to Jesus Christ our Savior.

Come to Jesus

In my closing comment, let me read Jesus’ words of invitation to all of us in Matthew’s Gospel: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 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.”

Let us come to God through Jesus, so that we may receive the gift of freedom in our souls. And then, let us also take on the yoke of discipleship and learn from Jesus, so that we may be gentle, and humble in heart enough to serve people and bring love, peace, and joy to many others, which is called God’s kingdom. Amen.

June 28th Worship Service: “Making a Meaningful Life”

You can watch the service by pressing the play button above. You may view the service in ‘full-screen’ by pressing the F key on your keyboard after clicking play. Alternatively, the service is available on YouTube via this link: https://youtu.be/vXgGIpESm48

We are excited to be able to remain connected during this challenging time. Feel free to share the service with friends and family.
Enjoy & please subscribe to our YouTube channel and encourage others to do so, and please also leave a comment at the bottom of the video (after the video is done you’ll see an area right below the video for comments).
Send prayer requests and announcements to the church office if you would like to be included in next week’s virtual service.
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June 28, 2020 Ordinary Time/Fourth Sunday after Pentecost (Green) Genesis 22:1-14; Matthew 10:40-42

Making a meaningful life

Our culture vs. Jesus’ teaching

“What kind of life do you want to have?” This kind of question is so abstract that it’s actually hard to answer. Maybe our answer is also abstract, such as “I want to have a good life.” Then, what do you think a good life is? That question is hard to answer, but you might think of a life of well-being in many different ways. Perhaps you may think of a living a respected life in society. In fact, who would ever want to live a shabby life? Our culture of today teaches us that satisfying our desires or putting our own interests first is more important than everything else. That’s why we have an abundance of everything: we have so much food that we are afraid our eating habits will make us fat: we have so many clothes that even resale shops can’t take them: we have so many things that we don’t want to move to another apartment. The saddest thing is that most people in this highly capitalistic country just believe this kind of egoism. In other words, having what we desire is evidence of a happy and successful life. Then, what is this meaningful life that Jesus offers us? If we really consider ourselves as his disciples, we should live by his teachings. No matter what our philosophy may be, our Lord Jesus’ teaching in the Bible has never changed and never will be. That is, we must stop living for ourselves and live for others if we really want to be his disciples. At the Last Supper before he was arrested, Jesus clearly told his disciples, “If you want to be my disciples, you must wash others’ feet, as I did to you.” Throughout this symbolic lesson, Jesus taught us that it is in this giving and serving life to others that we can make a meaningful life.

The spirit that transcends all things in the world

In the Old Testament, we can see Jesus’ teaching through a man who pleased God by giving his own life. This man is Abraham, who is well-known as the forefather of faith. But the problem is, we don’t like today’s scripture: God tested Abraham by telling him to kill his child like a beast and bring it to him as a sacrifice. Perhaps this passage is the most horrific event in the entire Bible. If we take it literally, we can hardly say “This is the word of God for the people of God.” We must find the hidden message that this passage is trying to teach in terms of God’s word for the people of God. We need to see the cultural background in this passage. Abraham’s time is referred to as the patriarchal age. The greatest concern of the ancient Hebrews was fertility, in other words, having lots of children (They believed fertility was God’s will for all his creatures – “Be fruitful and multiply” in Genesis Chapter 1). Actually, it was the very popular idea not only to the Hebrews but also to all the ancient races. Why did the ancient people regard having many children as living a successful life, a happy life, and a life blessed by God (or gods)? In short, it is only because having many children provided an advantage to survival in their jungle-like-world. But Abraham belonged to God. He had faith in God. He didn’t simply live according to the culture of his day, but tried to live by God’s will. That is why he gave up so many things from his homeland and moved to the unknown world as he followed God’s calling. Now at the old age of one hundred years, he had a son Isaac because of his faith in God. But Abraham dared to give up even his own child just to obey God’s command. I know this is an unreasonable and inhuman story. How can we enjoy the concept of sacrificing one’s own child? But once again, we should find the hidden message in it whether we like this story or not. From Abraham’s resolute determination, I can see a spirit that is transcendental or progressive not only to this ancient custom but also to our age of materialism. Think about this: God is invisible, but Abraham’s son Isaac is something he could see right in front of his eyes. To the ancient people, children were a symbol of good fortune. Everyone would try to have more children. But Abraham dared to give up his own child just to please God, who is invisible. Let me put it this way. Can you see God’s kingdom? Can you see eternal life? Can you see faith, hope, and love? Can you see justice, equality, freedom, peace? These kinds of ideas are invisible, but we know they exist in our world just as our invisible God exists in our lives. And we also know those invisible ideas are much more valuable than something we can see in our everyday lives such as money, food, a home, our family, our business, our own bodies. [In the New Testament, the disciple Paul says that “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18)]. In this ancient time when everybody pursued material blessings like fertility, Abraham realized that something invisible was far more precious and valuable than something visible. (In terms of our Christian language, he knew people should live by God’s word, not only by bread.) If he chose to keep his own son, he would be considered a good father. But Abraham decided to give up everything (his son) and entrust his life to the invisible God. That is why he became the forefather of our faith and Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world was born in Abraham’s family line. His choice for the invisible brought salvation to the world, changed the history of the world, and left a more valuable heritage to all generations. But we should know that Abraham’s decision wasn’t easy. We know that this was only God’s test, but he didn’t know that. How painful it must have been when he was asked by God to sacrifice his own child? Like Abraham’s experience, we are sometimes given a moment of choice. If God also tested us today, like Abraham, would we have the courage and faith to give up all these material things that satisfy our desires just for their invisible value? It’s easy to say that justice, equality, or freedom are very important values for all humanity, but just like Abraham, are we really willing to give up or sacrifice our own Isaac, our pleasure, our interest, our properties, or our gifts and dedicate our lives to those invisible values? Let me put it this way. You know we Christians are called to follow Jesus Christ, practice his teachings, and carry on his ministry throughout the world. But if we are really called to support and stand for those who are invisible, voiceless, nameless, and powerless in our communities, are we also willing to give up our own favors and benefits for those? Just like Abraham, do we have the courage and faith to transcend our desires? If we are honest, this ancient story of Abraham’s faith is still radical, progressive, and transcendental to us today.

The Instruction of Jesus Christ

Loving God, more than we love ourselves, more than we love our children or family, and more than we love what we have is not a simple task. It challenges us sometimes to give up our treasures and even our lives. But we should know that when we obey this invisible God and stand for the unseen values like justice, equality, freedom, peace, and serve those who are powerless in our world, we can bring God’s salvation and change history. We can pass on a better world to our descendants. How do we make a blessed life in our journey of faith? It is not about ourselves. It is about our Lord; it is about other people; and it is about something invisible. Jesus Christ’s new commandment is “Love your God and love your neighbors.” He also says, “If you love one another, people will know that you are my disciples.” Loving others, serving others, living for others are ways we can prove we are true disciples of Christ, and it is the way we can manifest the image of God. Our deeds of love, compassion, and mercy are our ways of doing the work of God and following the way of Christ. Amen.

June 21st Worship Service: “Be Bold Enough to Cause Trouble”

You can watch the service by pressing the play button above. You may view the service in ‘full-screen’ by pressing the F key on your keyboard after clicking play. Alternatively, the service is available on YouTube via this link: https://youtu.be/8JQzGlsEDRs

We are excited to be able to remain connected during this challenging time. Feel free to share the service with friends and family.

Enjoy & please subscribe to our YouTube channel and encourage others to do so, and please also leave a comment at the bottom of the video (after the video is done you’ll see an area right below the video for comments).

Send prayer requests and announcements to the church office if you would like to be included in next week’s virtual service.

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June 21, 2020 [Green]
Third Sunday After Pentecost

Matthew 10:24-39

Be Bold Enough to Cause Trouble

Hard to accept the gospel passage
Following our Christian calendar, this is the third Sunday after Pentecost. This is the season to highlight our discipleship and each Sunday, our lectionary provides us with Scriptures to deepen our discipleship. On the first Sunday, we had a lesson about how to build friendly relationships with people living around us. On the second Sunday, we learned that to follow Jesus, a friend of sinners, we must focus on how to stand with and for the socially marginalized in our communities.

However, I need to confess that today’s scripture is really hard to accept just for my own devotions. Not only I, but many other pastors will be reluctant to preach on this passage. Let me read some of them: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household” (vv. 34-36).

We don’t like these passages for several reasons. First, this doesn’t sound like the word of our lovey-dovey, warm and fuzzy Jesus we used to know. Second, how can Jesus, who is known as the prince of peace, instruct us to go out and cause trouble and make people enemies of each other? (we don’t get it). Third, if some visitors, who are not familiar with our Christian faith, join in our service and listen to this passage, they might not want to come back to church any more.

Why divided?
However, I didn’t give up on this passage because I always believe that when Jesus speaks, there must be something to it, so we should find out what he really wants to say to us. So, I kept meditating on this again and again until I got some inspiration, and you know what? In this same passage, I can see our old friend Jesus who is full of mercy and compassion: “Do not be afraid.” He said this word three times to his people (vv. 26, 28, 31). I am not going to read them all because of our time limit, but just mention to you that here in this tough passage, you can hear one of his best caring words, [“God counts every hair on your head and you are more valuable than any sparrows”] (vv. 30-31).

Through these conflicting words, then, what on earth did Jesus want to teach his disciples? We need to see the background in this passage. Today’s reading is an extension of the reading of last week in which we saw Jesus send out his disciples on their mission to proclaim the Gospel through the world. Yes, Jesus was always compassionate and loving to his people when he was with them. But now he was about to send them out into the world, so he needed to give them a heads-up. Perhaps he was trying to warn them that as his disciples, they would be experiencing rejection, persecution, and even death on their mission.

Well, as far as I know, Jesus’s mission is all about good. He forgave all human sins, he healed the sick, he looked after the lost, he brought God’s love to the world. Following him, our ministry is also all about love, peace, reconciliation, charity, service and care. In biblical terms, we are a grace-giver, and we even give grace for free. Well then, I think we deserve to be welcomed, not persecuted.

So, what’s the problem with our ministry? Perhaps, we the givers are not the problem, but the recipients are the problem. Let me give you my own experience to help you understand:

In my previous ministry, I met a young man who had to go to a jail because he did something stupid. Almost one year later, he was released on probation, but when he came out, he found himself totally alone. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a happy family to welcome him back. He lost his job and nobody wanted to hire him. Of course, this young man didn’t have enough money. It seemed like he didn’t have many friends to buy him lunch. In terms of the Gospel, yes, he was the lost sheep Jesus calls us to look after and care for. So, I brought that issue to the church and tried to discuss how we as the church could
support him. Guess what? The church was divided; I got several pros and lots of cons. The opposers, simply put, didn’t want to welcome an ex-convict to their community. Some of them even said that they don’t want him to hang around their kids. Well, if I spoke about God’s love and Jesus’ salvation only from the pulpit, everything would be OK, but when I tried to practice it in terms of church ministry, some people felt it was a challenge to their lives and separated themselves.

Let me give you one more example using a current issue. Friends, as you see, our country has been struggling with racial conflict and divided like a sword because of what has been shouted on the streets. We shout “All Lives Matter.” Are there any people who object to this truth – “All Lives Matter?” If we believe that all lives matter, why is our country divided by the words? I believe we not only say this, but bring it to the center of our society and even try to change our social and institutional systems with these words. That is why our country is divided. Sharers of the Gospel don’t intend to cause division but some recipients are not ready to receive it. Therefore, we are divided.

Here is a dilemma. On the one hand, we want truth, we want justice, we want to follow Jesus and live by his teachings. On the other hand, however, we don’t want to cause conflict and division and we don’t want to experience trouble because of what we shout and act. But if we really want to follow Jesus, we know we sometimes have to take risks. But the problem is, do we have that courage to cause trouble and face persecution even from our own families?
As the church, we sometimes experience conflict and division because each of us is different from the other. You know what happened over the past year. As a new pastor, I was so broken-hearted to see the church in conflict. Why didn’t I just talk about lovey-dovey, warm-fuzzy Jesus in my sermons? Why did I speak something that I can’t take back. I once regretted and even hoped to put everything down and run away. At that time, I got this meaningful gift from one of our brothers. (showing the cross that has the bible verse from 1 Cor. 16:13-14: “Be strong and courageous! For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you”).

Friends, we are called to go into the world, witness about the Gospel, and shake the world and wake up people to the truth. This is not an easy but risky ministry, and Jesus our Lord already warned us that we may confront persecution. But we also remember Jesus says “Don’t be afraid.”

Don’t be afraid
How do you want to raise your children? No doubt you want your children to live a life of light and salt in our society. Then you should not only be lovey-dovey, warm and fuzzy parents, but you know you sometimes have to be tough with your children in terms of discipline. “Don’t rock the boat” If that is your motto for your children, it’s a shame. You may want to try a new motto like “Be bold enough to stand for truth.” Yes, it is a risky word for your children, but you say this out of care and love, and you will do all you can to protect your children because you love them.

Likewise, Jesus sends his disciples out to the world, and yes, following Jesus and witnessing about his gospel will be risky, and we may face some persecution. But let us not be afraid, for we belong to the lovey-dovey, warm and fuzzy God who knows what we are doing, what we are speaking, what we are fighting for, and what we need for our life and ministry. Remember Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid. God knows every hair on your head and you are more valuable than you will ever know.” Thanks be to God. Amen.

June 14th Worship Service: “Go to the Lost Sheep in our Society”

You can watch the service by pressing the play button above. You may view the service in ‘full-screen’ by pressing the F key on your keyboard after clicking play. Alternatively, the service is available on YouTube via this link: https://youtu.be/wdZviBPK29k

We are excited to be able to remain connected during this challenging time. Feel free to share the service with friends and family.

Enjoy & please subscribe to our YouTube channel and encourage others to do so, and please also leave a comment at the bottom of the video (after the video is done you’ll see an area right below the video for comments).

Send prayer requests and announcements to the church office if you would like to be included in next week’s virtual service.

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June 14, 2020 [Green]
Second Sunday After Pentecost

Romans 5:1-8; Matthew 9:35-10:8

Go to the Lost Sheep in our Society

I am not a TV person, but since the Covid-19 outbreak, I have seriously watched the news on TV. The news on TV these days seems more tense and exciting than any movie. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that all those recent events are good or fun to watch. Just like you, I am concerned about how those events affect our lives in the future. Watching the news, I often say to myself, “What can I do as God’s servant in this turbulent world?”

On the other hand, I also think this time may be a turning point in our history. Whenever humanity advances with new history, there are always signs of the end of an era, which usually brings us not only confusion but also hope about something new. Think about the process of childbirth. A mother gives birth to a child in unbearable physical pain. As soon as she gives birth, she forgets all the pain, rejoices with her baby, and begins to live a new life. Perhaps, this Covid-19, or these human justice protests which have brought us a lot of confusion and pain, will lead us to a new age. In fact, we are told that our earth has been getting healthier since the outbreak of this pandemic. We could also hope that these human justice protests will reform our country. That is why thousands of people came out on the streets every day to shout for justice. If we can pass on a healthy planet and a more peaceful and just world to our children, we can endure this temporary pain, right? (read. Roman 5:3-4).

Yet I can’t be completely optimistic and romanticize all those events, although I hope and believe they will lead us to a new age with a new civilization. How can I just say “Well, Mr. Floyd’s death provides a good opportunity to reform and rebuild our country?” Rather, I feel sadness and anger about the terrible crime that destroyed his life.
What’s even more painful to look at is that the pain-sharing is not being shared fairly. The Covid- 19 is a global disaster and no one can escape its threat, but the weight of the pain varies from person to person depending on their social class. For example, I saw on TV that rich people can simply sail to an island by boat to avoid this pandemic. They just take this disaster as a vacation, while countless lives fall helplessly into this catastrophe in a single day. Shouldn’t the wealthy or the powerful or the privileged be more responsible for the outbreak of this pandemic? But why do they suffer less and the poor, the needy, the weak, the alienated, the minority always have to suffer more?

“What can we do as God’s servants or Jesus’ disciples in this trying and painful time?” Watching all those unfair events that have wounded our world and destroyed many innocent lives, you and I have been deeply concerned about this question. Seriously, what can we do? When I meditated on today’s scripture from Matthew’s Gospel, I found inspiration for what to do in terms of our Christian ministry during this trying and painful time.

In our passage this morning, Jesus traveled along with his disciples around all the cities and villages in Israel, proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom of God (v. 35). (In terms of our experiences of today, Jesus was leading his people to a new age; in fact, his kingdom movement transferred the Old Testament to the New Testament). How did he lead his kingdom movement? The passage says that while proclaiming the good news, he cured every disease and every sickness (v. 35); he took care of people who were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd (v. 36). This is one of the good passages to show how merciful and compassionate Jesus was especially for the people in need and in trouble.

The New Testament calls Jesus the Savior of the world, and indeed, we believe whoever believes in him will receive God’s salvation. Yet the Gospels also give him another title, that is, he is a “friend of sinners.” As this title implies, Jesus freely associated himself with the outcast of society: the poor, the demon-possessed, the lepers, prostitutes, tax-collectors, Samaritans (Jews who intermarried), and Gentiles (non-Jews). He was welcomed by people who were so-called sinners but rejected by the powerful and eventually killed by them because he took sides with the sinners of his day.

Jesus’ salvation ministry is not just an abstract story that God so loves the world. But his ministry has a specific purpose. According to the disciple Paul in Romans, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us” (vv. 6-8). If I add a comment on Paul’s words, Jesus Christ came to join in human suffering and pain; he reached out to the lost and brought them to God’s love; he fought to liberate the oppressed from all the social, political, and religious evil powers. Jesus came in a period of chaos (like today) where Israel was oppressed by Rome and pursued a new world called the Kingdom of God as he looked after the people who were abandoned from society.

In this time of transition in our history, what can we do as a church? We shouldn’t just sit back and endure all these confusions and troubles in our world. We have to do something to prepare for the coming of the new age. As servants of Christ, we know we are called to shine on the world, save souls, fight the good fight, and preach the Gospel to all the nations. Yes, indeed, we are called to bring God’s kingdom, in other words, a new age, a new history, a new civilization, here on earth. So, what can we do? How can we respond to all that is happening and lead our world to the right way?

Here in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus has given his disciples and followers specific instructions for his kingdom ministry, that is, “Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Cure the sick, raise the dead, clean the lepers, cast out demons” (vv. 7-9).

Who are the lost sheep among us? You can see them on TV today. Actually, you can see them everywhere in our communities. They usually look hopeless, deserted, and lonely. They don’t have many friends. They don’t belong anywhere. In terms of Jesus’ day, they are sinners. In terms of our language today, they are the minorities of our society. But we should know that they are the people Jesus loved. We as the body of Jesus Christ must stand for them and reach out to them in God’s love. Amen.

June 7th Worship Service: “The Fellowship of Trinity”

Please join us for our June 7th Worship Service!  You can reach the service on YouTube by clicking the following link https://youtu.be/8xCYvqyGk6o

We are excited to be able to remain connected during this challenging time.  Feel free  to share the service with friends and family.
Enjoy & please subscribe to our YouTube channel and encourage others to do so and leave a comment at the bottom of the video (after the video is done you’ll see an area right below the video for comments).
Send prayer requests and announcements to the church office if you would like to be included in next week’s virtual service.
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June 7, 2020 [White]
Trinity Sunday (First Sunday After Pentecost)

2 Corinthians 13:11-13; Matthew 28:16-20

The Fellowship of Trinity

Fellowship and worship

Surprise! You and I are invited to our brother Nat Woodruff’s garden. I know you had a big smile when you saw Nat’s face at the beginning of our service. Over the past weeks, we have shown you different locations of our church to help you feel connected. But how can we bring you a sense of “connection” with our church family through our online worship service? This is one of the questions the worship team has been working on. We thought of the interesting idea of having a service at someone’s garden as a sign of our connection or fellowship with one another. Thankfully, our brother Nat was there to accept our suggestion, so we are welcomed and greeted by him this morning. I hope this service will bring you a valuable opportunity to deepen your love and care for one another.

Following our Christian calendar, today is the first Sunday after Pentecost, which is also called “Trinity Sunday.” So, I am supposed to talk about what the Trinity is all about. “Well, on this joyful Sunday morning in Nat’s beautiful garden, do you really want to talk about Trinity?” You may want to argue since you know this is a serious subject. “Why don’t you just talk about fellowship to provide some fun with this service?” I know this is probably your suggestion for this morning. In fact, we designed this service at Nat’s garden to bring the spirit of fellowship into your hearts. So regardless of our Christian calendar, I will go with our plan about fellowship in my sermon.

Actually, Christian worship is all about fellowship with God and one another. God doesn’t sit on the heavenly throne but always joins in our gatherings because fellowship is the very nature of God. How do I know this? I’d like to point to the Trinity! Basically, the concept of Trinity is all about fellowship. I tried to ignore the subject of the Trinity, but now have come back to it. Perhaps, this is the right time and place to talk about the Trinity as I planned to talk about fellowship in today’s service.

Fellowship and Trinity

Why is the Trinity all about fellowship? Look at this triangle (showing the slide) in which each of the divine Persons are connected to one other. This triangle is not about hierarchy in which somebody is on the top and the others are on the bottom. Rather, this form is much more concerned about connection, harmony, equality, respect, and mutual relationships. Throughout this triangle form, we can see our God of Trinity desires to share fellowship.

“Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” Whether you like it or not, this is what we call God of Trinity. If you take this traditional language literally, you will fall into a bias (like male superiority) because God is pictured as Father and Son. Unfortunately, some Christians really believe that men must be in charge and women have to support them because God is the Father. If you go further with this literal understating of God, maybe you would say that racism is God’s will (I am better and higher, so I have the right to rule you, choke you, kill you. This is a very dangerous mindset that can cause divisions and conflicts in our society). If God has favoritism with men, some classes, and some races, how can we believe God loves the whole world; God stands for the socially weak; God is the Savior of all? This Trinity, which implies mutual and harmonious relationships, is not suitable for God’s nature. We have to throw it away and find another symbol.

We know human language is not perfect. It’s only a tool to express our thoughts, ideas, and emotions. God is much bigger than our language and our mindset. So let’s take into account that this terminology of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is only a matter of language and then meditate on what this Trinity presents to us. Let me give you my understanding about Trinity: God is like the Father or Mother, who gives life to all things in the universe: God is like the Son who is incarnated (born) into our world and our lives – “God-with-us”; God is also the Holy Spirit who dwells in our hearts, leading us, strengthening us, and turning on the lights for us, and so we can call God “Abba,” “Shepherd,” “Savior,” or “Friend.”

No Christian scholars have logically explained the possibility of Trinity – God exists in three distinct Persons but still the same one God? Maybe our doctrine of Trinity should be taken emotionally rather than logically. I hope you to feel God’s friendly intimacy every time you ponder on this meaning of the Trinity. Once again Trinity is not about authority or hierarchy but about connection, harmony, equality, respect, and relationships. It is all about fellowship.

Sharing the fellowship with all races

I can feel a kind of genuine and divine fellowship when I gather with you as a family in God. Look, my relationship with Nat (or any of you). Nat and I don’t have many things to share in our lives. He is white and I am so-called yellow; he is tall and I am small; he is 50 years old (plus alpha) and I am 20 years old (plus alpha). Our growth backgrounds and cultural environments are different from one other. No matter how I look and who I am, Nat is happy to invite me and all of you into his garden and willing to worship together with us because he has the fellowship of God in his heart.

Who is better? Who is higher? Who is in power? Who is the insider and who is the outsider? Who deserves honor and who deserves punishment? Don’t you know those questions had never been in Jesus’ relationship with his people? Yes, indeed, Jesus Christ our Lord commands his disciples to “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (v. 19). So, as we are his people, do we have the right to judge, correct, fight against others who don’t belong to us or who are different from us? We must not take this command as a military-like-mission. In the following words, Jesus gives his disciples his promise that “I am with you always” (v. 20). Don’t you feel in this promise his intimacy, his fellowship, his compassion and mercy, and his eternal and abundant love for us? Certainly, Jesus also wants us to share this peaceful and loving relationship with people living around us.

Trinity is about a God of fellowship. Does God only choose a certain group of people for his fellowship? No, God always invites and reaches out to all kinds of people to offer his fellowship. Who are our neighbors? How do they look? What do they do for their living? What kind of culture do they have? Whatever it is, let us share our genuine and divine fellowship as we honor, respect, and bless them. Amen.

May 31st Worship Service: “The Vitality of the Holy Spirit”

Please join us for our May 24th Worship Service!  You can reach the service on YouTube by clicking the following link https://youtu.be/BS3Wksq-Ovs

We are excited to be able to remain connected during this challenging time.  Feel free  to share the service with friends and family.
Enjoy & please subscribe to our YouTube channel and encourage others to do so and leave a comment at the bottom of the video (after the video is done you’ll see an area right below the video for comments).
Send prayer requests and announcements to the church office if you would like to be included in next week’s virtual service.
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May 31, 2020 [Red]
Day of Pentecost

Acts 2:1-4, 14-21; John 7:37-39

The Vitality of the Holy Spirit

The vital force in creation

Today is Pentecost Sunday. It is the day when the first disciples received the Holy Spirit in their gatherings and started their faith community, which we now call “Church.” When we think about the Holy Spirit, we may be reminded of a lively image like fire, wind, a dove, water, or tongues. Yes, Pentecost is something about a power, energy, force, or vitality that makes us stretch our bodies, or shout joyfully, move forward, or renew and strengthen our lives and ministry.

I can feel this kind of power or vitality when I walk in my yard. Look, it is now full of green color and full of life. Here in my vegetable garden bed, are there the buds of life growing. Two weeks ago, I planted some seedlings and lettuce, pepper, tomato, and zucchini seeds. A few days ago when I went out to give them water, I saw some green shoots coming up out of the ground. I am already looking forward to how much I can reap from my garden.

If you ask what is the most amazing thing in nature, I’d like to answer it is the growth of life. Look at those tiny seeds. I can’t understand, and nobody can fully explain how they really grow into plants, flowers, or huge trees that are heavily laden with fruit. As I think of this mystery of life, I am just reminded of God’s words in Genesis: “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.”

What makes a tiny seed grow into a huge tree and bear lots of fruit? What makes a little baby get bigger and bigger every day? What makes all living creatures instinctively desire to survive and reproduce? I don’t know the right answer, but based on the Bible, I can say when God created all the creatures, he put a power, or force, or a spirit in their bodies that play a vital role in growth and development. That’s why the entire universe is always throbbing with life.  And this throbbing keeps on going as long as life lasts.

The power of the Holy Spirit

But then we may wonder why we need the Holy Spirit. All creatures already have a spirit in their bodies, that they are willing to survive, grow, bear fruit, and make good lives. So why do we need the Holy Spirit? Let me give you a better question to think about – “How is the Holy Spirit that Jesus sent to his people different from the general spirit of life that God already put in all his creatures?” The answer is in the story of Acts we read this morning.

Following Jesus’ commandment, the disciples were all together in one place, and then 10 days later after Jesus ascended to heaven, they finally received the Holy Spirit pouring out into their hearts. How did they react? They began to speak in foreign languages they had never learned before. Peter and his fellow disciples addressed the crowds coming from all over the world. According to the end of this story, about 3,000 people, who heard his sermon, were converted to be Christians on that day. If you continue to read in chapter 3, they also showed an amazing healing power to raise a man crippled from birth, who was  begging at the gate of the Jerusalem Temple.

What a wonderful power it is! This supernatural event is called Pentecost. But I don’t want to take your attention from this kind of miracle which happened to the first disciples of the first century. I don’t believe that this miracle is the main point of Pentecost. Instead, I want you to see what kind of change took place in their hearts when they received the Holy Spirit.

Look at Peter. When Jesus was arrested, he was so afraid that he denied Jesus three times in front of people. What about John? He was hiding in a group of women when Jesus was crucified. Mary Magdalene? She was weeping and grieving at Jesus’ tomb. Thomas was even doubtful when he heard the resurrection of Jesus.

Before they received the Holy Spirit, they were very ordinary people who only reacted to their environment for their own survival. They were selfish, fragile, and somehow disloyal, but we don’t want to blame them because we know that self-preservation is  human nature. Just like anyone of us, they also reacted according to their own instinct for survival.

But, when they were set on fire (the Holy Spirit), they were radically changed to new people. No longer were they afraid of the persecution or challenge from the world. No longer were they hiding away from trouble. Now, they were bold enough to come out to speak publicly in front of the crowds that Jesus rose from the dead and he is indeed the Messiah.

Do you see the differences of how they reacted before and after they received the Holy Spirit? Before they received the Holy Spirit, they were concerned about how to manage their own security and survive in their time of trial. But after they received the Holy Spirit, it seems like they were willing to get into their communities to serve and care for others as they witnessed to the Gospel of Jesus and carried on his salvation ministry.

All creatures have a vital instinct for their own survival. That’s why all the creatures have to eat when they are hungry; they need to sleep or go on vacation after they work hard; and they look out for their own safety when they are in trouble. Nothing wrong with it! Survival is God’s will for all living creatures.

But we Christians have one more spirit in our hearts, which is the Holy Spirit that Jesus Christ gives his disciples. Here in our Scripture, we see by the power of the Holy Spirit the disciples stand as the witnesses of Jesus Christ. It means that they finally sought something more  valuable for others and the whole community than for their own interests. It is the Holy Spirit that has transformed us to seek God’s righteousness and work for God’s kingdom here in this troubled and broken world, so that we can lead many lives into God’s salvation and make our world move forward.

Stand up for life

Here in my vegetable garden bed are there the buds of life growing. I know they will continue to grow as long as there is sun and rain. But I also know I have to take care of them every day if I really want to have a good harvest. Here in our communities there are  so many neighbors living for their own survival. But we also know we can live well with everyone and make our world a lot better when we live for others.

What can we do in these trying times? Maybe the survival instinct we have in our hearts continues to say we need to stay home, stay away from all the crowds, and even close the doors. As God’s people, however, you may also struggle with a thought that you have to do something for others in the name of Jesus. That is the voice of the Holy Spirit that is in your heart as well. What can we do? If we are willing, we can see there are so many things we can do in the name of Jesus Christ. In these trying times and in this season of Pentecost, let us renew and empower our lives and ministry by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

May 24th Worship Service: “Why Did Jesus Leave?”

Please join us for our May 24th Worship Service!  You can reach the service on YouTube by clicking the following link  https://youtu.be/eW5VqWp80c4

We are excited to be able to remain connected during this challenging time.  Feel free  to share the service with friends and family.
Enjoy & please subscribe to our YouTube channel and encourage others to do so and leave a comment at the bottom of the video (after the video is done you’ll see an area right below the video for comments).
Send prayer requests and announcements to the church office if you would like to be included in next week’s virtual service.
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May 24, 2020

The Day of Ascension

Acts 1:1-11; Luke 24:44-53

Why Did Jesus Leave?

Is this the time?

What a beautiful season we have enjoyed these days! The weather is getting warmer, the days are lengthening, the sky is a dazzling blue, the air is fresh, and our yards are a shiny green. We are surrounded by all sorts of signs pointing to the beginning of summer, and I am sure that we all have been looking forward to this seasonal change.

As we are now in this beautiful season, we may have high hopes of our new life. We have been stuck and frozen almost for three months under the grip of this pandemic. This is the time we can get out of its clutches. So we want to ask God, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore our country, our state, our business, our stock market, and most of all, our freedom to move and hang around as we want?”

Against our earnest wishes, however, we are actually being told that this year’s winter will be the worst winter in our history. This means it’s not yet the time for us to come back and restore our lives. It would be such a shame to have to continue to stay locked up in this beautiful season. We must not succumb to this pandemic. We must do something to overcome this crisis and bring hope of life in our world. What can we do as God’s people?

On Ascension Day

Liturgically, this is the Ascension Sunday when Jesus was taken up into heaven in front of his disciples’ eyes. Before he ascended to heaven, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” (v. 6) They had been longing for freedom and liberation from the long oppression of the Roman Empire. Now they had Jesus Christ who rose from the dead. His own resurrection proved he had the power to fulfill their wishes. But Jesus’ answer was somewhat disappointing because he replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority” (v. 7).

By the way, how did the disciples react to the sudden ascension of Jesus in front of their eyes? Were they shocked, frustrated, confused, or thrilled? Whatever it was, I can picture them on that hillside, their bodies frozen, their mouths open, staring into the cloud that had swallowed Jesus from their sight. I can also hear some of them saying, still staring to the sky, “Why did he leave us?”

I can’t blame the disciples. In fact, I sometimes think, as they probably did, “Wouldn’t it be better if Jesus were still here with his people for his own mission. As their Lord, he could guide and lead them to do things right. Who would dare to compete with his power when he spoke, fought, or healed the sick? Why did he have to leave?

“Why do you have to leave?” This is actually what my mom grumbled when I had to board the plane at the airport. I am old enough to feel how upset she was when I had to depart from her. She didn’t want me to leave because as her son, I am her everything. I also believe that she would have a better life if I was always with her in her house. But I had to leave her because I have much bigger world to serve. But that doesn’t mean I abandoned her. I can always come back to her or invite her in my world, which is a lot bigger and better than her little house.

Not only adults like us but little children also know how hard it is to break up with their parents. “Why are you leaving me?” A little child would complain with this kind of question when his/her daddy is heading out the door. Daddy usually tells his child that he has to leave for work and will return soon. Yet the child doesn’t want him to leave because he/she just wants to play with him at their home. But daddy has to leave because he has a bigger community to serve. That doesn’t mean daddy is abandoning his child. He has to leave, so that he can not only do his job but also nurture and feed his child. Unfortunately, the child is too little to understand why daddy has to go.

In a way, the disciples were just like little children.  They didn’t understand why their Lord Jesus had to leave. They wanted him to stay with them in their small world. Holding him, they focused only on their own little hope about restoring their kingdom. But Jesus had a much bigger vision and for that he had to leave. He had to leave for the sake of the whole world. But that doesn’t mean he abandoned his disciples. The disciples would be invited to Jesus’ world (Kingdom of God).

There are differences in how little children and how the disciples react to their being left alone. Little children stay home, doing nothing until their daddy comes back. But Jesus’ disciples were called to do something until he would come back to them. Jesus gave them a special mission to be his witnesses: “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (v. 9). For this mission, Jesus promised to send his people the Holy Spirit. By ascending, Jesus has been working in heaven, and by receiving the Holy Spirit his disciples have been working here in our world.

Yet I can see some similarities about their reactions too. Both of them (children and disciples) are still not mature enough to understand why their daddy and their Lord Jesus had to leave. The little children are so upset that their daddy is leaving; they are so resistant, cry for a while, and then fall asleep. Likewise, the disciples got caught just standing there for a moment when Jesus ascended to heaven. They were frustrated, confused, or thrilled, and so they just stood there like statues. It took a visit from an angel to shake them out of their stupor. Basically, the angel shouted to them “Don’t just stand there and stare into heaven; look around and do something!”

Call to witness to God’s grace and love

For my conclusion, let me give you an illustration about squirrels. They are cute little animals. Yet I believe some of them are not very smart. I often see them crossing the street in front of a car. Some squirrels hurry across and get out of the way. But some squirrels stop there in the road and just watch the car coming as they hold their hands in front of their heart. Do they ask the driver to stop the car or turn his/her steering wheel? Whatever it is, those squirrels just stand there watching, doing nothing, and eventually being killed by a moving car.

On Ascension Sunday 2,000 years ago, the first disciples asked Jesus, ““Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” (v. 6). On this beautiful season today, we want to ask him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore our country, our state, our business, our stock market and most of all, our freedom to move and hang around as we want?” Yet it seems like Jesus is replying, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority” (v. 7).

How would you like to respond? Just like those dummy squirrels, will you get stuck or frozen and just stand there watching and doing nothing? Or will you look around, step forward, take action, and witness to God’s grace and love? We know sometimes things don’t go as we wish, but that doesn’t mean Jesus had abandoned us. Rather, we should know that he has a much bigger vision for us and for the world and he is always with us by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are not called to hold onto our small hope or small world as we only stand and watch. We are called to work for our Lord as we witness to his ministry and vision of God’s kingdom. Amen.

May 17th Worship Service: “The Abiding Spirit of Truth”

Please join us for our May17th Worship Service!  You can reach the service on YouTube by clicking the following link https://youtu.be/f_5_EGPaYoM

We are excited to be able to remain connected during this challenging time.  Feel free  to share the service with friends and family.
Enjoy & please subscribe to our YouTube channel and encourage others to do so and leave a comment at the bottom of the video (after the video is done you’ll see an area right below the video for comments).
Send prayer requests and announcements to the church office if you would like to be included in next week’s virtual service.
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May 17, 2020 [White]
Sixth Sunday of Easter

John 14:15-21

The Abiding Spirit of Truth

The Video Call

It is always hard to say goodbye to our beloved ones. Afterward, our life is harder because we really miss their physical presence in our lives. I still remember how hard it was when I had to leave my mom behind in Korea. When I said goodbye to her at the airport, she burst into tears. Before I boarded the plane, I needed to comfort her, so I gave her my promise: the promise to come again to see her on my next vacation or invite her back whenever she feels ready to come. (As you know, she had to go back to her country because of her need for medical care). As I made my promise to her, we both knew we would meet again, either in my mom’s country or here in mine.

But still my concern is, “How can I help her endure the loneliness and help her manage until we meet again?” After much thought, I purchased a smartphone for her and set it up so we could have video calls. She and I can call each day, looking at each other’s face. I even can show her granddaughter, (Mimi, my cat) and all the flowers she had taken care of. When I called her from my church office, I showed her the Easter lilies in our sanctuary and she was so happy about it. One day she told me that these video calls make her feel like I am with her at her house. I can definitely say that this helps us connect with each other and brings lots of confidence into her life, and I believe this device will keep her stay strong until we meet again.

The promise of the Holy Spirit

In chapter 14 of John’s Gospel, we can see the farewell scenes between Jesus and his disciples. Jesus said goodbye to them and they were very upset with his sudden farewell. For three years they had shared their lives together. Because Jesus knew they were broken-hearted, he tried to comfort them as he gave them two essential promises before he left them behind.

Last Sunday we read about his first promise: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also (v. 3). It is just like my promise to my mom: “I will come again to see you soon.” (Well actually, it is the promise about his own resurrection and eternal life for his followers).

But it wasn’t good enough to comfort their troubled hearts. They might have believed he would come back someday as he promised, but they were still wondering how they could stay calm and face all the challenges of life without his daily presence. Jesus also knew that they couldn’t make it on their own, and he didn’t want to abandon them like a bunch of orphans. So, he gave them his second promise: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever” (v. 16). (“Advocate” can be translated as “counselor,” “comforter,” “intercessor,” and “strengthener”). This promised Advocate is the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit, they’d be able to feel Jesus’ presence in their lives. I liken the task of the Holy Spirit to the video call on my mom’s cellphone in the sense that both bring us a feeling of connection and confidence in life.

Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit holds immense comfort. Without God’s abiding help in our daily lives, we too can’t stay calm and strong. If we have to do everything with our own strength, we will soon find ourselves very discouraged and even give up. As little children of God, we need the Holy Spirit who can guide our faith journey in this complicated and uncertain world.

What if we fail? What if we get lost? What if we lose everything we need to sustain our lives? Those are the actual worries we may struggle with, especially in this time of uncertainty. For these possible worries in our hearts, Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as “the Spirit of Truth” (v. 17). Because He is the Spirit of Truth and if we trust and obey, the Spirit will lead us all the way to be with God!

Through the Holy Spirit guiding us each day, we will not only experience God’s presence in our own lives, but we will also be able to show his presence to others. Jesus has given his followers the Holy Spirit with an important caveat: “If you love me, keep my commands.” As we have the Holy Spirit in our hearts, we must display the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).

How can we know Jesus will come again? How can we know he will send us the Holy Spirit? How can we know the Spirit will lead us to the way we should go? The only answer for this question is “trust and obey.” Indeed, our Lord Jesus kept his own promises to his disciples. First, he kept his promise of coming back to them. He walked out of the tomb. He rose from the dead, having defeated death. Jesus’ resurrection secures our place in the family of God. Second, he kept his promise to send the Holy Spirit. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon them and they could live powerful lives, witnessing about Jesus’ resurrection to all nations. What was true of the disciples is also true of you and me today. We have to trust in his promises that he will be always with us and obey his holy guidance that we will strive to make a faithful and godly life.

Trust and obey

Often in life, there is a stark contrast between the resurrection in heaven and the actual trials in the world. We see it in the threatening of this pandemic, which is out of our control, in a fractured economy in which many of us have even lost jobs, in the loss of a beloved one that has discouraged hope and joy in our life, in the struggles with our own health issues, that we just want to give up on life.

In the midst of this troubled life and this uncertain world, we feel like we have been abandoned like orphans. If this is our feeling of today, let us listen to what Jesus says to his disciples “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you as I send you the Spirit of the Truth” (vv. 16-18). This is what Jesus promises his disciples and us today and we know he will keep his promise. All we have to do is to trust and obey! Amen!

Mother’s Day Worship Service: “God’s Love on Mother’s Day”

Please join us for our Mother’s Day Worship Service!  You can reach the service on YouTube by clicking the following link:https://youtu.be/MbxWhw7XZbE

We are excited to be able to remain connected during this challenging time.  Feel free  to share the service with friends and family.
Enjoy & please subscribe to our YouTube channel and encourage others to do so and leave a comment at the bottom of the video (after the video is done you’ll see an area right below the video for comments).
Send prayer requests and announcements to the church office if you would like to be included in next week’s virtual service.
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May 10, 2020 [White]
Fifth Sunday of Easter

John 14:1-14

God’s Love on Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day (giving this part in the kitchen)

Happy Mother’s Day!!! As you can see, I am standing in the kitchen, wearing my mom’s apron. Please, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying or even thinking that the kitchen is where mothers must be placed. No, not at all! Women and men must be equal everywhere in our society! I am only showing this to remember and honor my mom who has never stopped feeding me and caring for my life.

When I called my mom last night to say “thanks,” she replied (she never forgets to ask this when I call her), “Son, did you eat? What are you eating these days?” On Mother’s Day, my mom still wonders whether I eat or not. And I believe this is also your concern about your children.

“It was good when I was a child!” Don’t you say or think these words when you are in trouble or worrying about something? Yes, I can really say that everything was good when I was a little kid; I had never been hungry, I had never been lonely, I had never been desperate for anything. Was it because my parents were rich? No! Remember, once I talked about my parents’ failure in their business. I knew they were in great trouble, but I still grew up rich because they sacrificed everything to take care of me!

If someone asks me where we can experience God’s love, I’d like to say that we can always experience it from our mothers’ love. Mothers are special people who provide unconditional love for their children. They will even lay down their lives for their children just as Jesus laid down his life for his people. On this Mother’s Day, I’d like to bow down and thank my mom and all our mothers for their sublime love.

The love of God the Father or Mother (giving this part in the garden)

As I sit in our memorial garden, I am reminded of what Jesus says to his people, “[God grows the flowers and grasses of the field. Without God’s command, none of the sparrows will fall to the ground. So do not fear; you are much more precious than many sparrows]” (Mt. 6:30; Mt. 10:29-31). Do those words mean that God is so rich and powerful, that we will never have any trouble? No. What Jesus means is that God, our Father or Mother will protect us and take good care of us with abundant love.

Although God is in control, trouble is a reality in our world and the Bible doesn’t ignore it. Open any page in the Bible and you will see a story of some kind of trouble. Even here in this place with Jesus and his disciples there had been trouble. Jesus knew he would soon be betrayed and killed by the Jews. He also knew his disciples would be in trouble because of him. Actually, we don’t need to read the Bible or look far to find trouble. Our life experience has already taught us that no one can get through life without suffering or pain. We also know if our trouble seems so deep, it’s hard to have hope of life.

If this is your situation today, take Jesus’ words for this morning deep into your hearts. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me” (v. 1). Please notice that Jesus never says that we should ignore trouble, but he wanted to provide comfort with clear instructions: “Trust God and Trust me.” And “Trust God the Father or Mother who holds your life, and Trust Jesus who has given his life for us (to prepare a place for you – the eternity in God’s house)” (v. 2).

He also says these remarkable words, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life” (v. 6). Some Christians take this verse literally believing it to be exclusive to any other religion or culture. Let us not judge with our classic doctrine, but take it as his own promise to protect his disciples from trouble.

So let me put it this way: “I am the Way” – even though you happen to encounter trouble, don’t worry but trust me. I will always guide you. “I am the Truth” – even though you happen to get lost, don’t worry but trust me. I will always find you. “I am the Life” – even though you happen to be discouraged, don’t worry but trust me; I will always work with you and help you to restore hope in your life.

Amazingly, Jesus gave this promise when he was in trouble. He knew he was about to be killed. Nevertheless, he was completely concerned about his people. And we know he laid down his own life for the sake of our salvation. On this Mother’s Day, let us bow down and give thanks to Jesus Christ who is our Way, Truth, and Life

On Mother’s Day (speaking this part in the sanctuary)

I am back in our sanctuary to continue our worship with you. When I sat in our garden, I was thinking to myself that it’s OK to be spoiled (in a good way) because God loves me so much that he will always watch over me. But as I now enter our sanctuary, I am reminded that I am not only a child of God, but also a servant to God, and I feel like I have to do something for others in terms of a Christ-given ministry. Indeed, Jesus says in this passage, “Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these” (v. 12). On this Mother’s Day, let us deepen our faith in Jesus Christ and strive to take action as his disciples.

On this Mother’s Day, let us bow down and give thanks to all our mothers (and also fathers) who brought us into this world and have taken care of our lives. On this Mother’s Day, let us also bow down and give thanks to God who has created us, saved us, and sustained our lives with abundant love. On this Mother’s Day, let us also love each other and serve others in God’s love just as Jesus Christ our Lord has loved. Amen.