총 게시물 664건, 최근 0 건

Remember our Almighty God!

글쓴이 : 관리자 날짜 : 2014-11-25 (화) 11:55 조회 : 1247
Rev._Jang\'s_sermon_on_November_23,_2014.pdf (209.5K), Down : 3, 2014-12-02 21:48:00
설교일 : 2014.11.23.
설교자 : Rev. Jang
본문말씀 : Micah 6:1~5

November 23, 2014

“Remember our Almighty God!”
Micah 6:1-5

Rev. Chan Young Jang’s Sermon at KUMC of Metro Detroit


1.
As you well know, the first Thanksgiving in America was observed in 1621. The Puritans who had survived a winter of hardships as pioneers to the British Colony of Plymouth celebrated their first harvest by inviting the Native Americans and having a Thanksgiving Service together with them. By 1771, all 13 states in the east coast were observing Thanksgiving Day each on its own day, but President Lincoln issued in 1863 the Proclamation of Thanksgiving to make it a day of Thanksgiving and national holiday. The country was in the midst of a severe civil war, and President Lincoln was hoping for peace, and praying for God’s hands to guide the nation. The following is excerpts of the “Proclamation of Thanksgiving” speech by him.

“The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

No human counsel had devised nor had any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, has nevertheless remembered mercy. 

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to ‘set apart’ and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwells in the Heaven.

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.”

This is an amazing declaration, no matter how many times I have read it. We can see how humbly and reverentially the American people worshipped God at that time. On this Thanksgiving Sunday, I feel the need for us to pray fervently for this country. Sadly it may not be an overstatement to say that this country is like a sinking ship. Up to now, people in U.S. have enjoyed God’s abundant blessings bestowed upon them, but recently God has been forgotten completely and it has been hard to notice the Puritanical spirit in the fields of education, politics, military, culture, or religion in this country. Instead it seems to spearhead the things that God abhors.

I want to urge you to pray for this country, for our home country, and also for North Korea from now on. At every early morning service we will pray together for these three countries.


2.
On this Thanksgiving Sunday, as we are all so thankful for God’s grace, I am reminded of this truth; Thankfulness can change any circumstance into heavenly blessing. All the churches in the world have Thanksgiving worship service today and remember to be thankful for the blessings and graces of God during the past year. God has commanded us to be thankful and joyful as follows.

Deuteronomy 16:13-15  Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress. Be joyful at your Feast – you, your sons and daughters, and the Levites, the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns. For seven days celebrate the Feast to the LORD your God ‘at the place the LORD will choose’. For the LORD your God ‘will bless you’ in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and ‘your joy will be complete’.

There are rules to follow in celebrating this Feast. 1) Together with all the people in your town. 2) At the place God will choose, that is at the Tabernacle. 3) God will bless you in all harvest and in all the work of your hands. 4) You will have complete joy.

Why does God want us to celebrate this Feast? He wants us to ‘remember all the blessings together’, with your family, your church and your country.

I want to emphasize the word, ‘remember’, from today’s Bible passage; “Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of the LORD.” (Micah 6:5b)

This journey from ‘Shittim to Gilgal’ was a very symbolic journey for the Israelites. Shittim is the last stop where they camped before crossing the Jordan River, and Gilgal is the first place where they camped after they crossed the Jordan River into Canaan and performed the Hebrew custom of circumcision for the new generation. In other words, ‘Shittim’ is symbolic of ‘chaos and fear of the future’, and ‘Gilgal’ is symbolic of ‘thankfulness for the blessings’. God wants the Israelites to remember the journey from Shittim to Gilgal, and the first circumcision ceremony, so that they will know the righteous acts of God.

This word ‘remember’ was used in the Bible when Zerubbabel came back from Babylon to Jerusalem and started to re-build the House of the LORD. God told prophet Haggai this; “From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the LORD’s temple was laid. Give careful thought: Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit.” “From this day on I will bless you.” (Haggai 2:18-19)

Those who can look back on their lives and remember them fondly are happy people. If you think of someone and remember the good times together, you are blessed. If you can remember the times God had walked with you in your life, you are totally blessed.

A Jewish psychiatrist Dr. Viktor Frankl, who had survived the horrors of Auschwitz concentration camp, wrote in his book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ the following statements.

“There is one thing nobody can take away from us, and that is the freedom to choose our attitudes towards our lives.” Even while witnessing his fellow Jewish prisoners being led to the gas chamber to be killed, he shaved every morning using a broken piece of mirror. Nazis certainly could kill him any time, but they couldn’t take away his attitude of hope for life.

He also said, “The most important thing in our lives is not our fate, but the way we accept our fate.”

He pointed out three things indispensable for any human being to survive in this world. The first is the ‘spirituality’. Only through God, one finds one’s own self-worth. We humans live in the material world and become influenced by it, but unlike other creatures, we have a spiritual world.

The second is the ‘freedom to choose’.  With one’s spirituality, one realizes that he has the freedom to choose. He could choose to suffer the pains, or choose to seek happiness despite the pain. One’s life is not a fate to accept, but can be changed by the freedom of choice.

The third is the ‘responsibility’. One must be responsible for the choices and mistakes he has made. Then he will be able to go forward to discern God’s plan toward himself.

These statements from Dr. Frankl are not new theories. We have known these by God’s commandments and promises.

Today is the Thanksgiving Sunday. To be truly thankful is possible only when we have the ‘spirituality’, and when we have the ‘freedom to choose’, and when we choose to live as ‘responsible’ Christians. Who do you think was the best role model for this? It was Apostle Paul.

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13)

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

As you can see here, the remembrances to be thankful do not come from us. They come from ‘him who gives me strength’. They are ‘God’s will in Christ Jesus’. We choose to be thankful, and we have learned to be thankful, and we declare to live our lives thankfully.


3.
In today’s Bible passage, prophet Micah challenges us to stop and ‘remember the journey from Shittim to Gilgal’. There the Israelites were really thankful to God. Now, what is thankfulness? I want to define it with 3 key words.

1) First, ‘being thankful is your choice’. A popular and influential travel writer in Korea, Biyah Han, had given up going to college because of financial difficulties after her father’s death. But when she went to meet her boyfriend’s family, the first question his mother asked her was, “Which college are you attending?” She had to answer “no” to that. Then, she got words from his mother urging her to break up with him as they were not compatible because of the educational disparity. She could have been crushed by this, but she remembers that this episode pushed her to pursue college education with more determination. You can be thankful for a most humiliating incident that challenges you.
The well-known evangelical pastor and Bible teacher Rev. Charles Swindoll said, “10% of any problem is objective facts, and the rest, 90% of it, is subject to our choices”. Being thankful is our choice. Even though things were not going well during the past year, we are thankful to God, remembering His help in difficult circumstances.

2) Second, ‘thankfulness can be taught’. Our lives are a continuation of problems. Despite of all these problems, we can be thankful, because we have learned to be thankful.

If you are enrolled in ‘the school of wilderness (school of hard knocks)’, instead of complaining, try to have a meeting with the principal of that school, God, and learn from Him. Apostle Paul said he had learned to be content whatever the circumstances. At first, it may be difficult for you to be thankful, but soon you begin to build the muscle of thankfulness with training and then you will become genuinely thankful.

Do you think you have graduated from this ‘school of hard knocks’? No, all your life you have to go through training sessions to be strengthened and to prevent any injury.

3) Third, ‘thankfulness is a power’. Even when the circumstances don’t change, choosing to be thankful will give you a power, and that is the great mystery and secret.

Yesterday afternoon while preparing for this sermon, I was suddenly reminded of my first pioneer church. I had a very difficult time with another church down the road. I visited that church to say hello, and the pastor was insisting that Methodists were heretical sect and that missionary Underwood only had brought the Presbyterian Church into Korea 100 years ago, and there was no missionary Appenzeller with the Methodist Church in Korea at all. At first, I was trying to change his views, but once I accepted the challenge of proving him wrong, I was able to work tirelessly for that pioneer church all the time, and I am grateful for that passion.

My congregation was mostly consisted of grandparents and young children. I had to work really hard to keep the older folks from falling asleep during my sermons. I became closer to them because of the funerals and burials I personally had to manage, and learned a lot from them. There were many accidents. I got burned on my face and hand with the butane gas explosion. My head and nose were hurt with a motorcycle accident. Our new church van almost killed me with a serious accident. Some crazy people came every day to threaten me. In the midst of all, our baby son had to go to hospital every day for 3 years. When I announced the plan for a new church building, the village people were dead against it and tried to prevent the construction in various ways.

I was still feeling thankful despite of all these obstacles, and God gave me the power. Now, those times are remembered with happy and fond memories. I was so close to God, while living in a tiny room with my family and constantly worrying about the carbon monoxide poisoning.

I want to introduce a man of our times, Nick Vujicic, by showing a video of him, with the title of “I am happy when things are tough”. (3 minutes &10 seconds duration)

Now you have seen that Nick was born with no arms and no legs. He had wanted to kill himself when he was 8 years old, but has overcome life’s challenges through strength and hope found in Jesus Christ, and with the help from his family and friends.

Once more I want to emphasize, remember our Almighty God!

Let us sing this hymn, “Thanks, Lord, for saving me”

   

총 게시물 664건, 최근 0 건
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처음  이전  31  32  33  34  35  36  37  38  39  40  다음  맨끝

제목 : A beam of light filled with hope
설교일 : 2020.05.24
본문말씀 : 1 Samuel 14:6-15
설교자 : Rev. Eungyong Kim
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