총 게시물 423건, 최근 0 건

'Give thanks, my soul'

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Rev._Jang\'s_Sermon_on_November_19,__2017.docx (20.3K), Down : 0, 2017-11-27 21:45:50
설교일 : 2017.11.19.
설교자 : Rev. Jang
본문말씀 : 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

November 19, 2017

 

‘Give thanks, my soul’

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 

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

 

 

1.

The first Thanksgiving Feast on American continent was held in 1621 by the Pilgrims living in the area of Plymouth after surviving a harsh winter in the British colony. They celebrated their first harvest in the new land by inviting the Native Americans living nearby and had a festival and worship to give thanks to God. By October of 1777, all the 13 eastern states celebrated the Thanksgiving Day to show their thankfulness for the harvest. President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the fourth Thursday of November to be the official Thanksgiving Day in the whole U.S.A. and since then, all the churches in the U.S. have celebrated the Thanksgiving Day on the preceding Sunday to give thanks to God.

 

As the nation was still embroiled in the bloody Civil War, President Lincoln’s message on October 3, 1863 was full of hope for healing and recovery by the hand of God. The following is his proclamation.

 

“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 has devised nor has 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 Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do so, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience.

 

We 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.”

 

My beloved congregation, I believe that by giving thanks we can change our circumstances into blessings for us. Today in U.S. all the people and the churches give thanks and praise to God for all the blessings bestowed during the past year.

 

We are gathered here at church to ‘remember together’ the blessings of God. “My people, remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of the LORD.”(Micah 6:5)

 

“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.” (Haggai 2:18)

 

When we look back upon our past, we realize that it is a blessing to share good memories with others, and that the most blessed are those who have memories of walking with God in their life.

 

 

2.

The Jewish psychiatrist Dr. Viktor Frankl said, “If there is one thing that nobody can take away from you, it is the freedom to choose your attitude toward life.”

 

Dr. Frankl is one of the few survivors from the infamous Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Germany when the World War II ended. After his parents, his wife and children perished there, facing death every day, he decided to do two small things; one was to shave every morning using a broken mirror, and the other was to give thanks to God every night at the end of each day while remembering all the beautiful things in the past. “Thank you, God, for your grace. Your grace is enough for me!” He was not praying to God to rescue him, but to preserve from the Nazis his hope for life and his thankfulness to God.

 

Hermann Hesse said, “Happiness does not come from any objects or circumstances, but from your small thanks in every moment.” As ‘thank’ comes from ‘think’, we want to ‘think’ on this Thanksgiving Day.

 

Apostle Paul figured out the principle of happiness in the following passage.

 

Philippians 4:11-13  “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.”

 

This is the thankfulness of a true Christian whose faith accepts any situation, even if it was not what he was praying for.

 

When compared to the thankfulness of Paul, we feel ashamed of ourselves, because we only give thanks when everything in our life, such as our health, children and business, goes well. Instead we should give thanks when we can do everything through Him who gives us the strength.

 

Thus, we are given the ultimate advice by Apostle Paul in today’s passage.

 

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

 

I believe these are really practical advices, as I have witnessed many members giving thanks in all circumstances during the past year, while facing adversities in their lives.

 

And by looking into Paul’s circumstances, we realize that he was in prison when he was confessing his thankfulness. After giving up his previous successful life in the world, Paul had proclaimed the Gospel all over the places, and consequently was put into prison where he reminisced about his beautiful encounter with God and walking with Him.

 

 

3.

Now, we want to meditate deeper upon the definition of gratitude.

 

1) First, gratitude is our own choice.This may sound paradoxical, but it is true; when we choose to be thankful, we become thankful.

 

During my ministry in Korea, there was a deaconess whose life was the envy of everyone. But she confessed to me that previously she had suffered from an inferiority complex because of her lack of higher education. Her father’s death had forced her to quit the Middle School and get a job. Later when she met the mother of her boyfriend, her first question was, “What college are you attending?” “Sorry, I am not attending any college.” Because of her wounded pride, not only the relationship with her boyfriend did not work out, but also her fellowship at the young adults group at her church deteriorated. One day she was crying desperately to God, “My Lord, what can I do now? It wasn’t my fault that I couldn’t go to college!” God’s reply to her was, “I like you the way you are, and why are you in such agony about a college? It doesn’t matter to me at all, if you have college education or not.”

 

At that moment she came to realize that she could choose to be thankful for what she had. From then on, she paid less attention to the opinions of others and concentrated on living the best life possible.

 

The famous preacher Rev. Charles Swindoll said, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” So, we can choose to be thankful, no matter what happens to us in our circumstances.

 

2) Second, thankfulness can be taught and trained. Our life on earth is the continuation of problems, one problem after another. And the Christians with their faith in God are not exempt from this aspect of life. Even our Lord Jesus was not an exception; He had to bear the cross and experienced the death on the cross for our sake.

 

Every person on earth should go to a school and that is ‘the School of Wilderness’, which accepts everyone, but it is very difficult to graduate with honors from this school. Once you complete all the courses successfully, you will be bestowed an honor which cannot be compared to anything in the world.

 

My beloved members, now that you know you have to go through this School of Wilderness, I want to advise you not to try to avoid hardships or sufferings. Instead of complaining, what you should do is to try your best to encounter God at this school. Paul learned at this school “how to be content whatever the circumstances”. It is hard at first for us to be thankful, but after diligent training, we will experience the feeling of a genuine gratitude.

 

Let us remember and meditate upon the times when we thought God was not there for us. He was there really, just trying to train us.

 

3) Third, being thankful gives us power.Being thankful does not change the circumstances, but when we choose to be thankful, we become more powerful.

 

Remembering God who has walked with us all the time strengthens us and makes us realize that our Lord alone is enough for us, as we are thankful for Him always.

 

Take a look around you, how many disasters have happened lately? Hundreds of concert-goers were killed in Las Vegas and tens of church-goers were killed inside of a Dallas church last week. How about the situation in Korea? The political instability, the corruption of political leaders, and the possibility of military confrontation between the North and South Korea make us very uncomfortable and unhappy right now.

 

But still, at every moment, all of us should be thankful, and being thankful will sustain us to have a wonderful life.

 

 

4.

Last Wednesday while I was hospitalized, I got an email from Dr. David Wilson, the president of Wesley Theological Seminary, notifying the Board members of the Seminary the passing of a former Board member Rev. Dae-Hee Park.

 

Many thoughts came to my mind in a flash. First I felt guilty for not having kept a close contact with Rev. Park lately, and then remembered that he had lived his whole life for Jesus Christ while on earth. In 1958 while ministering in Go-Yang Kun, Kyung-Gi Do, he was awarded the Cross Scholarship by United Methodist Church in their effort to bring up Christian leaders in the third world countries. He was the first Korean to study at Wesley Seminary. Afterwards, he served the first Korean church in Hawaii, Hawaii Korean UMC as their Senior Pastor. For 60 years he helped to bring up future leaders until he was called to the Lord last Wednesday at 90 years of age. With love and gratitude, he worked hard to pay back the debt to Wesley Seminary. President David Wilson reminisced about him; “Rev. Park told me that every morning after the early morning prayer service was over, he used to rush to the beach and sing the hymn ‘Give thanks, my soul’ in Korean and English countless times, and then he would have an amazing day, then an amazing month, then an amazing year. That was the way he lived his whole life.”  

 

I met Rev. Park when I was serving as an Assistant Pastor at Boon-Dang Church in Korea. I only picked him up at the airport and took care of him while he was the guest lecturer at the church. Before he left, he told me, “Pastor Jang, you remind me of my younger days. Serve the church well in your ministry and look up toward the Lord only!” Because of this connection, he wrote such a good recommendation for me when I was applying to the Wesley Seminary that I got admitted to that Seminary, despite of my low TOEFL scores. Now I am serving as a Board member of Wesley Seminary, following in his footsteps.

 

When we look back, there was no mere coincidence in our lives, as everything was by the grace of God. That is why we have to be thankful always, even when things do not go as we have planned. When we choose to be thankful no matter what the circumstances are, after having been trained to be thankful, we will be given enough power to persevere in any situations. My beloved congregation, you are the most precious in the world and Lord Jesus has proven His love for you by dying on the cross. Because of Lord Jesus, we can be thankful in any circumstances. On this Thanksgiving Day, I pray that the blessing of remembering and building beautiful memories be bestowed upon all of you.

 

Let us sing the closing hymn; “Thank you so much, I never realized how precious I am to you”

 


   

총 게시물 423건, 최근 0 건
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423 2017.12.03  The Life of a Witness John 1:6-15 Rev. Shin
422 2017.12.03  증거자의 삶 요한복음 1:6-15 신태규 목사
421 2017.11.26.  "What will you ask for?" James 1:5-8 Rev. Bae
420 2017.11.26.  무엇을 구할 것인가? 야고보서 1:5-8 배세진 목사
419 2017.11.19.  'Give thanks, my soul' 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rev. Jang
418 2017.11.19.  '감사하라, 내 영혼아' 데살로니가 전서 5:16-18 장찬영 목사
417 2017.11.05.  'Only for the Lord' Romans 14:6-9 Rev. Lee
416 2017.11.05.  오직 주를 위하여 로마서 14:6~9 이훈경 목사
415 2017.10.29.  A church as a faith community Acts 9:8~19A Rev. Jang
414 2017.10.29.  교회창립45주년기념 - ‘신앙 공동체로서의 교회’ 사도행전 9:8~19A 장찬영 목사
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412 2017.10.22.  행복하여라: 의를 위하여 핍박받는 자여 마태복음 5:10~12 장찬영 목사
411 2017.10.15.  The Story of a Father's Wasted Love Luke 15:11-24 Rev. Kwon
410 2017.10.15.  낭비된 아버지의 사랑 이야기 누가복음 15:11~24 권태홍 목사
409 2017.10.08.  Like Father, Like Son Ephesians 2:1-8 Rev. Joseph Kim
 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  다음  맨끝

제목 : The Life of a Witness
설교일 : 2017.12.03
본문말씀 : John 1:6-15
설교자 : Rev. Shin

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