Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Who Is Your King?

Some years ago, YP Lee, one of best Korean soccer players who had played in the Premier League in England, came back to his home church and shared a story about his mom during the Christian worship Service. 

When he was young, he thought his mother was the kindest angel in the whole world. However, as he has grown, he came to realize that his mother was an angel only for him, her son. In other words, his mother was not very kind person for everyone. Obviously, he was very brave man! 

Every mother can be an angel to her own children or her loved ones. So could be every father or any people for their beloved family members. It is a human nature. 

No wonder why Jesus mention about this human reality - "What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him as scorpion? (Luke 11:11-12)" However, Jesus pushes us little further. "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them." (Luke 6:32) 

This biblical reality challenges our human reality. How can we move further? Our Holy Spirit guides us through the words of an apostle Paul. 

What if we all treat each other like Paul did? 

I am just wondering what makes those two singers sang this ancient song in harmony...  and what if we treat each other as through we were treating our God, the King?

By the way, who is your king?
“My God, O King" based on Psalm 145 & “His Name” 
Duet by Lim & Yun at London King’s Cross Church 

PSALM 145 
I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever.
Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.
I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.
And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness.
They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness.
The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.
The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.
10 All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee.
11 They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power;
12 To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.
13 Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.
14 The Lord upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.
15 The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season.
16 Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.
17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.
18 The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.
19 He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.
20 The Lord preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.
21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Three Different Kinds of Trumpets?

Three different trumpets?

Here they are….

Scandalize My Name by Katherine Battle & Jessy Norman
No! No! by People

Scandalize My Name Trumpet & No No Trumpet!

However, here is another kind..

Let the Bright Seraphim by Katherine Battle & Wynton Marsalis
 G. F. Handel's opera Samson

Amazingly we all can be a trumpet like this by the grace of God. 

God is truly willing but are we willing?

Yes! Yes!

Let the bright seraphim
in burning row,
Their loud, uplifted angel trumpets blow.
Let the cherubic host,
in tuneful choirs,
Touch their immortal harps
with golden wires.
inspired by John Milton's Writing

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Unless we work on it by the sweat of our face...

“...God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, 
for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28, CEB)

Greetings to you all in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ,

It has been quite a week last week with our energetic youth at Wildfire Mission in Superior, WI - rising early, worshiping fully, working hard, hydrating often, and playing late. Where does their energy come from? It is a Mystery! So when I got back home, my body was so exhausted. However, for some reason, I was full of energy even though my whole body was aching. Another mystery! But you will understand if you join our next mission trip with youth!

2019 Wildfire, Superior, WI

Anyway, one of the places where we walked at Wildfire was the Harbor House Crisis Shelter. In the morning, after we completed the mission of demolition of the wall to build a new one in the basement, we went out and joined with the other groups to fix the swing set in the playground and pull out weeds. 

Joyously pulling out weeds in the playground, one kid of the Harbor House came to me and asked, “Why do you pull out these little white flowers? I love those.” He was right because those little white flowers were beautiful. So I wondered, “What am I doing here? Why am I trying to get rid of these beautiful flowers?” However, in a moment, it came to my mind, “Yes, Kiddo! Those flowers are beautiful in the open field. However, it is not safe to leave them growing in the playground.” 

Then I found quite a few young maple trees in the middle of the playground. So I pulled them out. But because he saw me pulling them out again, he looked down and asked me again, “I love those plants. Why do you pull them out?” I wondered again, “What am I doing here? Why am I trying to get rid of those beautiful little baby maple trees?” However, again, in a moment, it came to my mind, “You are right Kiddo! It will grow beautifully and will give us good shade and maple syrup someday. However, if it grows in the playground, the slide and swing cannot stay here. Do you want the swings and slide and monkey bars or those trees?” It seemed like he understood me.

Reckless Love by Cory Asbury

Everything has its own place to grow and prosper. Even though dandelions and creeping Charlies are God’s creation, they are not for my flower garden, but for the open field. Thorns and thistles are neither for my lawn nor for my vegetable garden. If they come inside of my garden, I have to pull them out and get rid of them to protect my beautiful and fruitful flowers and vegetables.      

“...Weeds and thistles will grow for you, even as you eat the field’s plants; 
by the sweat of your face you will eat bread.” (Genesis 3:18)

Actually, the creation story, after Adam and Eve’s fall from the Garden of Eden, tells us that we have to work hard to keep our garden fruitful and beautiful. How about our spiritual life? Because of our sinfulness, our bad behaviors can grow, our wrong attitude can be strengthened, our dirty language can be multiplied, our countless worries and fears can choke our lives UNLESS we work on it by the sweat of our face, I mean by the good fight.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, now how can we work on it by the sweat of our face? And how can we fight the good fight to make our spiritual garden much beautiful and fruitful?

We will continually take small steps with Christ Jesus who loves, forgives, and serves as we choose to stand between right and left with a well-balanced life even under the hot summer sun! 

Join me…

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Kyochul

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Walk with Me...

Christ and his disciples on the road to Emmanus by Jan Wildens

 “The Lord was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything
he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master.” 
(Genesis 39:2, NLT)

Greetings to you all in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ,

The morning sun wakes me up earlier each and every day. It is truly the season of summer. I can see a difference every day from our windows now, and sooner or later in July, the longest day of light will pass, which means our daylight will become shorter and shorter after the summer solstice. However, our green fields will not miss any blessings from the sunlight as they continue to grow until they reach the point of harvesting. Are we taking all the blessings from the daylight whether it is getting longer or shorter each and every day like the green fields for full harvesting?

In early June, Markesan Community celebrated June Dairy Days with music, fireworks, and parade. As you all know, this is my first year experiencing June Dairy Days since my family and I moved to Markesan last July. So, I walked to Pastor Yoder’s front yard on Manchester St. where all the Methodists were gathering to watch the parade together. 

Now guess what? As the people and parading cars passed right in front of me, they threw lots of candy and goodies. And I wondered, “Why do they throw those candies to me? Do I look like a child?” But I was so excited anyway! However, who is going to see this middle aged man with silver hair as a child? But the mystery was solved because I was sitting right next to Kendra, who loves candy. Actually, she collected two bucketfuls by herself! People threw candy to her, not to me. I learned that if you sit by yourself, you will not get anything. But to get candy during the parade, sit with the children. By the way, I enjoyed the parade and the fellowship on that day very much!

Now how about our spiritual journey? If we want to have blessings in our life, what can we do? Bible stories are not different from my parade experience. “You need to be with Someone Special!” One of these stories is about Joseph, who was sold as a slave by his jealous brothers. However, according to the Bible stories, because the Lord was with Joseph, he succeeded in everything he did, even as he served in the home of his Egyptian master. But that was not all. Even after he was thrown into the prison because of a false accusation, the Lord was still with him in the prison, showed him his faithful love, and caused everything he did to succeed... whatever he went through!

No wonder why King David later sang this song... 

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want... Yea, though I walk through the
valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod 
and thy staff they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:1 & 4)

"The Lord's My Shepherd, I'll Not Want" by Jesse Seymour Irvine, 1872

Because God was with David, he did not fear anything! Instead, he was able to see blessings hidden in every situation. Now brothers and sisters in Christ, are you with the Lord in this season? Do you know our Lord is with us in every step we take? If not, Jesus invites us to join him today...

Walk with me, I will walk with you and build the land that God has planned 
where love shines through. And when you share your faith with me and work for 
life made new, the witness of your faithfulness calls me to walk with you.” 
(TFWS 2242, “Walk with Me” by John Rice, 1988)

Join me..

Grace and Peace, 
Pastor Kyochul

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Come! Holy Spirit! Come!

"Come Holy Spirit", by GMF Netherlands & Myanmar Choir

Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, 
and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or
 tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them.” (Acts 2:1-4, NLT)

Greetings to you all in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ,

It is a new season, the season of summer and the season of growing! Now, how’s your seed of faith which has been coming out of the power of Jesus’ resurrection going with you all in this season? As I begin to see that the green nature is breaking through the ground and begins to grow in the field, I am pretty sure that our faith is putting its big step on a totally different dimension, the field of joy and thanksgiving, filled with the Holy Spirit!

How is it so?

About two thousand years ago, as the followers of Jesus gathered together in one place, they experienced something strange but very new in their lives. It was fifty days after Jesus’ resurrection or ten days after Jesus’ ascension. We know Jesus spent his forty days with his disciples, teaching them more about the Kingdom of God and eating with them before his ascension. And as Jesus commended them, all of his followers met together and were constantly united in prayers for ten days after Jesus’ ascension, waiting for something new.

Then what happened? They received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Through this, their doubts and fears turned into the hope of the Kingdom eternal because they were able to dream dreams and vision visions. That was not all. They began speaking in other languages as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability so that Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem were able to hear about the wonderful things God has done through Jesus Christ in their native languages! It was the birthday of the Christian community, the church.

Now two thousand years after, it is us who hold this hope of eternal Kingdom of God filled with the Holy Spirit. Is this true to us all? And are we still experiencing this Holy Spirit of God each and everyday?

All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, 
and to sharing in meals including the Lord’s Supper, and to prayer... performed many 
miraculous signs and wonders... met together in one place and shared everything 
they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those 
in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s 
supper and shared their meals with great joy and generosity.” (Acts 2:42-47, NLT)

A couple of months ago, during the confirmation class, we talked about this particular event in the bible. But our best interest was how they did after the birth of the church through the Holy Spirit because we want to be a church like that. Then, we found that all those things are still possible now through our willingness to be faithful to God and to the church, meeting together regularly for worship, study and prayer as well as bringing our true offerings to God to support the ministry of the church. However, there is one thing we cannot do by our willingness or by our decision unless the Holy Spirit gives us. It is to perform many miraculous signs and wonders! We asked ourselves, “Do we want to have that?”

"Holy Spirit Come to Us" from Taize Community

Now brothers and sisters in Christ, do we dream dreams and vision visions like this early church believers two thousand years ago? And do we want to be a church like that, taking the steps that the early church followed with the Holy Spirit? If we do, we will continue to ask, seek and knock until we receive, until we find and until it is opened to us through this season of Pentecost, the season of growing! Then everything will be turn into the joy and thanksgiving on earth as in heaven.

Join me..

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Kyochul

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

My Spirit Filled Faith

Christ is risen, he is risen indeed!

Greetings to you all in the name of our risen Lord, Jesus Christ,

A few days ago, I had a special plan with my family for attending an out of town event, and I heard about Winter Weather Warning for that particular day. It said that we might have several inches of snow all through the afternoon. However, it did not bother me much because we are already in the springtime waiting for the summer! Winter has lost its power and the spring has won the victory! 

"Christ the Lord Is Risen Today" by Charles Wesley

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia! Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia! Where’s thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!”
(written by C. Wesley, UMH 302, v.3)

Now it is truly the season of celebrating our Risen Lord. Around us, I can still hear Wesley’s resurrection hymn, “Christ the Lord is risen today, and I cannot resist joining the chorus whenever it is heard. What a joy! What a power! And what a victory! Who is able to take these “Alleluias” from us now? I dare say “No one!”.

But two thousand years ago, in the same place, where he had called his disciples before he turned water into wine in the wedding at Cana (John 1:43), he visited and called them again after he was resurrected from the dead. Now, this risen Lord, who is visiting each one of our lives through this season, is inviting us to join the new journey with him and with his disciples in a new dimension with the same words.

Follow Me.” (John 21:19, NRSV)

This means, the Christ’s resurrection was not the ending but the new beginning! I wondered, “how am I following him as my new beginning?”. Without hesitation, I can say, “It is with our unshakable spirit filled faith”. Why? Because those disciples, who got called by Jesus a second time, began their new journey with that faith, even after Jesus ascended into heaven. Which means they did that without Jesus because the Holy Spirit enabled them to heal, teach, and live like Christ Jesus. 

In other words, Jesus was always there as they kept that unshakable faith, and it made them grow in Christ filled with the Holy Spirit without fears or doubts anymore, but with joy even boldly confronting all the dangers of their life. But I wonder again, “Can I do the same?” and “How do I have that?” 

According to the stories of the disciples, they have witnessed the power that they held, the spirit filled faith. And it has continued until now two thousand years later on the other side of the world, in Wisconsin. So we follow Jesus like them.

Now brothers and sisters in Christ, here are what they hold in their hearts, the spirit filled faith, unshakable, as they followed him in a new dimension. 

Can we hold this spirit filled faith, unshakable, in us together now? If so, let us begin our new journey with Christ holding this together. We will truly find a joy eternal!

Join me..

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Kyochul

2nd Symphony "Auferstehung" , Finale by G. Mahler 

Die Auferstehung
(5th movement)

Rise again, yes, rise again,
Will you My dust,
After a brief rest!
Immortal life! Immortal life
Will He who called you, give you.

To bloom again were you sown!
The Lord of the harvest goes
And gathers in, like sheaves,
Us together, who died.
by Freidrich Klopstock

O believe, my heart, O believe:
Nothing to you is lost!
Yours is, yes yours, is what you desired
Yours, what you have loved
What you have fought for!

O believe,
You were not born for nothing!
Have not for nothing, lived, suffered!

What was created
Must perish,
What perished, rise again!
Cease from trembling!
Prepare yourself to live!

O Pain, You piercer of all things,
From you, I have been wrested!
O Death, You conqueror of all things,
Now, are you conquered!

With wings which I have won for myself,
In love's fierce striving,
I shall soar upwards
To the light which no eye has penetrated!

Die shall I in order to live.
Rise again, yes, rise again,
Will you, my heart, in an instant!
That for which you suffered,
To God shall it carry you!
by Gustav Mahler