총 게시물 636건, 최근 0 건

May It Be as God Wishes

글쓴이 : 관리자 날짜 : 2014-12-23 (화) 04:22 조회 : 971
Rev._Jang\'s_Sermon_on_December_21,_2014.pdf (158.3K), Down : 3, 2014-12-23 04:22:46
설교일 : 2014.12.21.
설교자 : Rev. Jang
본문말씀 : Luke 1:26~38

December 21, 2014

 

“May It Be as God Wishes”

Luke 1:26-38

 

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

 

 

1.

Today is the 4th Sunday of the Advent and the Christmas Sunday. Traditionally all the churches light 4 candles during the Advent season while waiting for the arrival of Messiah, and on the 25thduring the Christmas morning service they would light the 5thcandle. But lately the Christmas Day service at church has been replaced by the Christmas Eve service, and even the Christmas Eve service is not observed at all the churches. Sadly many churches close their doors during Christmas season for their ‘vacation’ week, as their congregation members go away for travel or for family gatherings and just enjoy the ‘Happy Holidays’.

 

Some Christians argue that the Christmas Day is not based on the Bible, but on the heathen custom of Sun God celebration during the winter, so we do not have to strictly observe that day. In truth, the birth date is not mentioned in the Bible, but over the years to celebrate the birth of the Messiah, the churches decided on the date December 25th as his birthday and the 4 weeks prior to that date as the Advent season. During this season we meditate on the meaning of his birth and on how we can share his love with others.

 

We remember Jesus as a baby born in the manger, greeted by the shepherds, visited by the Magi who brought precious gifts for him, and then welcomed by old Simeon and Anna at the circumcision ceremony. He was born to Joseph and Mary who were good people but without financial means. He came down to us to help the poor, lonely, sick, in pain and ill-treated among us with love.

 

For a long period of time the churches had stepped up spreading Jesus’ love among their neighbors during the Christmas season and the people in turn worshiped in their churches to celebrate Jesus’ birth. But somehow, ever since the invention of television in 1946, the importance of Christmas celebration at church began to diminish. Television kept people at home away from church and in 1970s people began to travel for vacation during the Christmas season. Since 1990s the prevalence of personal computers, and since 2000s the expansion of Social Network System, changed the center of Christian lives away from their churches. The Sunday Schools and Youth Ministry have lost their significance greatly and the biggest challenges face the churches now, after 2,000 years of history.

 

As we look back, this is my second Christmas here at this church, I want to reflect on our attitude toward Christmas. We have had a wonderful Sunday School Christmas Show, Christmas Sunday service, Children’s Baptism at Christmas, and will have Christmas Eve Cantata, but I can’t help feeling that we are missing something here, and that is the Baby Jesus.

 

For our holy and steadfast faith, I want to emphasize on some points that should be restored by us during this Christmas season.

 

 

2.

First, let us meditate on the meaning of Christmas through Mary’s perspective. How would you describe the meaning of Christmas? The most important point is that ‘God has come down to us’, and it is the biggest paradox. How could God in heaven come down to lowly earth? He could have just said to us, “You know that I love you”. We humans never asked God to come to our level. We never imagined God would come down to us as a baby, born in a stable for the animals, to a young woman with humble background. I am reminded of particular Bible verses from Apostle Paul whenever I think of Christmas.

 

1 Corinthians 1:27  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

 

2 Corinthians 12:9  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

 

The world is ruled by the strong, and by ‘the survival of the fittest’. We are well aware of the way of the world where the strongest and smartest rule the rest of people. But today’s Bible passage shows that God works through Mary who is just a young maiden in a small village. Now we learn that there are two laws flowing in the universe, the ‘law of power’, and the ‘law of grace’.

 

During the life time of Jesus, the world was ruled by the Roman Empire which had conquered Egypt, Persia and Babylon and all the roads were leading to Rome, and the Roman influence in all the areas of politics, culture, philosophy and arts was enormous. Roman Empire was the most powerful at that time, but now there came another rule, the ‘law of grace and weakness’.

 

Luke 1:30  But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.”

 

This must have been really shocking to the Jews at that time. They believed in observing the Mosaic Law to serve God, and never knew about God’s grace. We know it was God’s grace when ‘God came down to us’ and only God’s grace can explain the mystery of Christmas.

 

In our faithful life, without God’s grace, we will never understand Him. We want to be strong by having Jesus in our lives, and believing in His power and confessing our weaknesses.

 

Thanks to your prayers, I was able to lead the 3 day Revival at the Dallas UMC very successfully. For the past few years, my holy responsibility has been serving small churches that need help. Bigger churches can afford to invite pastors for their revival, so I have chosen to go to small churches with less than 30 members. In fact, about 50% of our immigrant churches are in this category. These churches cannot pay the visiting pastor’s expenses, let alone honorariums. I usually have to pay my own way along with some contribution to the church. For this Dallas church, it was their first Revival.

 

To lead the Revival in a small church is very difficult for me, but ironically I am the beneficiary of a lot more grace because of it. As for high efficiency, maybe I should go to biggest church for the maximum evangelism, but Revival at a small church brings me more grace. 

 

At a small church, nobody recognizes me as the senior pastor of the great KUMC of Detroit, so it is easy for me to be humble and just deliver the messages. I am reminded of my early days as a tadpole, and once more realize that all was due to God’s grace. When I walked into that Dallas church, I was extremely touched by the pastor’s prayer cushion on the altar.

 

I could imagine the pastor on the cushion praying for everyone in his church, and asking for God’s help in the painful strife among the members. Holy Spirit was soon leading me to the altar and asking me to pray for God’s grace to help small churches and their young pastors. I know this is our holy responsibility.

 

Long time ago when I had just started my studies at Wesley Theological Seminary, the biggest roadblock was my inability to comprehend spoken English. Having passed the TOEFL, I could manage reading and writing in English, but had a hard time with the professors’ lectures. Even though I prepared my best, the result of my first exam on ‘Church History’ was D grade. I was so disappointed and crestfallen. I began to doubt my chances of graduating from the Seminary. I thought I had 3 options.

1) Have foolish spunk and reject the school. Blame the professors and leave the school.

2) Graduate at all costs, that means may have to depend on cheating sometimes.

3) Now that my proficiency in English is proven to be lacking, go to the professor and humbly ask for his help.

 

I chose the option #3. First I prayed to God fervently and then went to see the professor. I said to him, “Professor, I have a serious problem with English. I can manage reading and writing, but comprehension and presentation in English is very difficult for me.” He nodded his head in agreement. I added boldly, “Just imagine you in my position. If you had to learn Korean as a 30 year old, and then take exam and do presentation in Korean, you may have as much difficulty as I have.” The professor sympathized with me and gave me reprieve. I was allowed to take the exam again, and my assignment for presentation was an easy one, and given more time to prepare. Through this, I learned that it was not my ability, but the grace, that had mattered. From that time on, every morning I would go down to the basement prayer room to pray to God to please have mercy on me, and that was the secret of my successful 6 years at Wesley Theological  Seminary.

 

 

3.

Let us go back to today’s Bible passage. We are very surprised at the fact that God was working through this frail young woman.

 

Luke 1:31-33  “You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

 

We see here that God is working with the meekness of Mary, and realize that if we are too strong, God’s ministry is diminished, as we tend to take credit ourselves. Conversely if we are weak, God’s ministry gets all the credit.

 

Nobody wants to be weak in his life; we all want to be strong, charming, wealthy, and confident. Then, why does the Bible say that being afflicted is good for us and even glory for us?

 

Psalms 119:71  It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.

 

Romans 8:18  I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

 

God’s ministry gets the spotlight when we are not the stars. At the same time the role of master and servant are very obviously shown, just like the role of parents and children are.

 

This is the mystery of the Christmas, and the reason for God choosing Mary. Our faith helps us to maintain our weakness so that we can seek for God’s ministry in our lives.

 

 

4.

For our conclusion, whom does God choose to work with? Let us go back to today’s passage.

 

Luke 1:38  “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

 

In his book “The Message”, the famous bible scholar and pastor Eugene Peterson translated the above verse in his own words; “Now I understand everything. I am ready to serve. I want everything to be as you wish it.”

 

Whom does God choose? God chooses those who are prepared to serve. Mary may have looked frail and weak, but in reality she was not frail, nor immature. She was ready to serve. What an insight!

 

‘Being prepared’ does not apply to the master, but to the servant. The servant should be always ready for the orders from the master. The good servant is ready to serve at any moment. Now God is asking Mary, “Are you ready?”

 

Come to think of it, our lives are the sequence of these questions. Are you ready to (     )? You can insert your own words at different times; Are you ready to believe? Then any word like work, share, love, commit, deliver, send, obey, go, move, is to be inserted in the parenthesis, and then finally the word ‘die’ for our final journey.

 

Philippians 2:6-8  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!

 

This is the very meaning of the Christmas! I want to wish you the blessing of real meaningful Christmas message during this season! May it be to you as God wishes!

 

Let us sing this hymn, #126 from the Hymn Book, “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing”

   

총 게시물 636건, 최근 0 건
번호 설교일              제목 본문말씀 설교자
156 2015.01.11.  Do your best to touch our Lord’s heart! Mark 2:1~12 Rev. Woo
155 2015.01.04.  Godliness, an Invitation to the Holy Life 1 Timothy 4:7~8 Rev. Jang
154 2015.01.04.  경건, 그 거룩한 삶에로의 초대 디모데전서 4:6~11 장찬영 목사
153 2014.12.31.  오직 나와 내 집은/For me and my household 여호수아(Joshua ) 24:14~18 장찬영 목사 (Rev Jang)
152 2014.12.28.  Beautiful Knots Galatians 3:1~7 Rev. Jang
151 2014.12.28.  아름다운 매듭 갈라디아서 3:1~7 장찬영 목사
150 2014.12.21.  May It Be as God Wishes Luke 1:26~38 Rev. Jang
149 2014.12.21.  말씀대로 이루어지이다 누가복음 1:26~38 장찬영 목사
148 2014.12.14.  What to do while waiting: Share your field of hope Acts 2:43~47 Rev. Jang
147 2014.12.14.  기다림 속에서 해야 할 일: 희망의 밭을 나누라 사도행전 2:43~47 장찬영 목사
146 2014.12.07.  The Foundation of Anticipation: Buying a Field of Hope Jeremiah 32:6-15 Rev. Jang
145 2014.12.07.  기다림의 근거: 희망의 밭을 사라 예레미야 32:6~15 장찬영 목사
144 2014.11.30.  The Blessing of Anticipating the Arrival of Christ Luke 2:22~38 Rev. Jang
143 2014.11.30.  기다림의 축복 누가복음 2:22~38 장찬영 목사
142 2014.11.23.  Remember our Almighty God! Micah 6:1~5 Rev. Jang
처음  이전  31  32  33  34  35  36  37  38  39  40  다음  맨끝

제목 : The work of God
설교일 : 2020.02.16
본문말씀 : 1 Samuel 3:10-21
설교자 : Rev. Eungyong Kim
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