January 19, 2022

Hearing and Doing God’s Word 29-08-2021

29th August 2021 Pentecost 14 (Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost) Hearing and Doing God’s Word
(Scripture Reading: James 1:17-27, Mark 7:1- 8)
By Heeyoung Lim
We are on a journey of faith and mission together walking with Jesus. In today’s world, especially COVID situation, we are often isolated and under lockdown. Jesus is leading us into new ways of being church through God’s Word. I hope we can show the gospel in practical ways, and I pray our church will be more caring, welcoming, loving, and spiritually alive congregation even in this difficult new environment.
James encourages us to take a leap of faith in trusting God to lead us to endure trials and to overcome temptations. He began by addressing them as “my beloved brothers”, and then challenged them to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. This is hard work, especially for those who are quick to judge and impatient with others. A person with perseverance holds up under pressure and looks at God in all circumstances. James is keenly aware of the power of human speech both to build up and to destroy and concerned about anger which is an emotion that can be destructive.
The commands refer both to our relationships to one another and to God. We cannot hear God if we remain distracted with resentment or hatred. Today’s text warns against pretending instead of listening, deceiving instead of obeying, and talking instead of serving. (James 1:17-27) The command to be quick to listen requires for an eagerness to hear and obey God’s Word. (19) God wants His people to triumph over their trials and to live in obedience to his commandments. May we obey God’s Word whenever we hear it and separate ourselves from sin.
We try to obey God’s word, but there would be gap between what we say and what we do in our lives and differences between our faith and actions in our faith journey. Today’s passage invites us to encounter faithful action and persistence. May we continue our faith journey in God’s reign by thinking of the connections between hearing God’s word and doing it. Our relationship with God is the context for faithful living and the set for genuine responses. It is the reason for speaking and acting. The Letter of James expresses the belief that God is the giver of all and all good has its source in our God. “Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights,

with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (17) Our loving relationship with God is based on God’s deep and unchanging love for us.
The letter of James invites us to reflect on following God’s word and receive the implanted word which may refer to the good news about Jesus. (21) It tells us, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (22) It challenges us to do more than listen to God’s word and invites us to believe that God loves us unconditionally and eternally. Our acts of love and generosity reflect our faith that every gift comes from God.
The gospel can be described as a living seed rooted into the human heart at regeneration. Although the gospel powerfully influences in the human heart, it grows by obeying it and renewing their commitment to the Lord. The gospel has power because it actively provides a chance to transform individuals into committed disciples of Jesus.
In Mark chapter 7, Mark points out that the gospel is a matter of the heart and highlights the emptiness of religious performance. The religious leaders discovered that Jesus’ disciples did not wash their hands before eating. They were upset because Jesus’ disciples were not following the “rules” for ceremonial washings that added to the law and handed down from generation to generation. (3) They were asking Jesus, “Why do your disciples not walk according to traditions of elders?” (5) Jesus gave them the answer by quoting from Isaiah 29:13. He called the religious leaders hypocrites and said, “This people honour me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” (6, 8) He continued to tell them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand.” Jesus responded by differentiating between the commandment of God and the tradition of the elders.
The observance of religious rites does not produce “righteousness” in a person. Doing religious activities on the outside does not mean being Christian on the inside. Jesus teaches that our relationship to God is not based on religious formality but sincere faith in Him. Jesus made it clear there was a big difference between human traditions and God’s commands. True worship must come from the heart. They were concerned about surface piety and purity, while Jesus was concerned about internal purity. Jesus teaches that the purity of a person is not determined by external actions but an internal heart attitude. He invites us to live out gospel from our heart.

The power of God not only sustains us but also strengthens us to overcome barriers in our life. In today’s text, we see Jesus, the sacrificial servant, setting people free through the gospel’s power. Every barrier can be overcome by the gospel’s power and Jesus transcends all barriers such as racial difference, or religious traditionalism. He has come to set us free.
Religious acts do not produce personal holiness. Our faith is pleasing to God and seeks His grace. Religious legalism can lead us away from God. We can ask the Lord to make our worship of Him meaningful rather than mechanical. God wants to communicate with us, and He wants to hear our prayers. May we search ourselves to see if we have any prejudices about race, culture, gender, or people. We can ask God to help us look at people as Jesus sees them. May we strive always to do as Jesus calls us to do and to share that love with all those we meet.
How do we respond to God’s lavish generosity of love? We can strive to clear away the non-essentials to live as closely as possible to our core elements of faith and essentials of God’s salvation and love. I believe we can find ways to response to God’s love. It can be a good opportunity to remember those who have helped to shape our relationship with God. May each of us and whole Leighmoor congregation genuinely respond on God’s steadfast love. May fresh inspiration come to us for new faithful action as we reflect on the perfect gift of love and words God has given us. Obeying God’s word and loving others will bring blessings in our lives. Loving and caring for the weak and needy will show we are following Christ. May we be both hearers and doers of the Word.
God’s Word is revealed through our lives. As we know, our actions speak louder than our words because actions add value to our words and make them strong. The truth we must follow is the Word of God, and we must obey it. Hearers will be blessed in their doing and the doers can rejoice in knowing that their actions, born of the Word, demonstrate faith. May we reflect on God’s loving intentions for humanity through the hope of renewing our attitudes and actions. I believe that our faith-based lives and practices will be tools to change the world. May we live out the gospel as a loving community in Christ, nurturing one another in faith, upholding one another in prayer, and encouraging one another to serve God.
Thanks be to God! Amen.
(Ref. Bible, commentaries, theological books, UCA materials)

Put on the Whole Armour for God 22-08-2021

22nd August 2021 Pentecost 13 (Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost) Put on The Whole Armor of God
(Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 8:22-30, Ephesians 6:10 – 20)
By Heeyoung Lim
The earth is the LORD’s and while humanity has been entrusted with care of God’s creation. We are only stewards, not owners. The earth itself is a witness to the glory of God and the Lordship of Christ, but it suffers from many things that are normally linked with human sin and fault. In addition to the difficult situation of COVID-19, there are so many difficulties such as violence, wildfires and earthquakes occurring all over the world, and the world is being destroyed and torn by human induced climate change and selfish and greedy people’s mistakes. I hope we can make a better future by saving energy and water, tree planting, using environmentally friendly products, and living in harmony with creation. God commands us to look after and protect whole creation in accordance with God’s word. I hope we can have our own stories and actions for our environment and sustainability and participate in God’s work. Every effort must be undergirded with prayer.
David was promised that someone from his house would a dwelling place for God. 1 Kings 8 tells of the fulfillment of that promise and emphasizes that the temple is a place of prayer. Solomon stands before the people in public prayer and opens the temple as a place of prayer for all people. At the centre of all prayer is a conviction about God. God’s presence is not limited to any physical place, but He graciously reveals Himself in special ways in His house. That is why biblical prayer begins with adoration of God. Our prayer needs to be based on what God has chosen to reveal about Himself and what He has spoken to us, not on what we like to think or imagine about Him. (1 Kings 8:22) God is never far away, and the presence of God equips our faithful lives.
Today’s Ephesian text gives advice on how to live the new Christian life and Christian spiritual warfare. (Ephesians 6:10-20) Christians faced daily harassment, discrimination, and suppression by their neighbours and the authorities at that time because Christianity was illegal until A.D. 313.
Christians must go through transformation while they grow spiritually. They must shed old selves and licentious lifestyle and put on their new selves of godly righteousness and holiness. (4:22–24) Christian
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individuals, families, and communities become exemplary, living in love, forgiveness, and thankfulness. In this spiritual warfare with sin and evil, God in Christ through the Spirit supplies to Christian’s power and strength, and Christians are “to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power”. (6:10) Christian life in the predominantly pagan world became challenges to the “Ephesians.” One of the major challenges that early Christians experienced in their transformation was about power. We must prepare ourselves inwardly for the outer struggle. The outer struggle against the injustice and powers will test our inner resolve. God never ceases to offer new opportunities to grow and deepen our sense of commitment in faith community. Our inner heart and resolve might be tested or shaken while we are struggling against injustice and powers.
However, suffering and struggling can be parts of the process of faith development where spiritual growth occurs and can be ways of deepening into a mature faith. Fighting and the victory in the spiritual warfare may be opportunities for spiritual growth where followers of Jesus stay alert to evil, pray and love, influence one another’s growth, and look after one another. God’s unconditional love and spiritual resources are found among us and in nature. His love and spiritual power enable us to stand firm and endure in tough times.
These spiritual resources are “truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, and faith” that are found in the human-divine relationships and in the natural environment. (14-16) Spiritual resources are expressed in music, arts, and through our lives. Expressions of spiritual resources can be seen in the care of world and nature, in acts of love and justice among the people, and in the compassion and commitment of faith communities. It is very inter-relational and helps in spiritual growth.
Today’s text invites us to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. God wants us to put on the whole armor of God, specifically, “stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (14-17)
The weapons are mainly defensive, equipping us to withstand attack. The belt, the breastplate, the shoes, the shield, and the helmet are all to enable us to remain safe under attack. As we can see from the fact that
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the sword is an offensive weapon, this passage does not just suggest passive resistance. Paul is challenging his readers to take the fight to the enemy. The Bible tells us to take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. The best weapon we can use against our enemies in spiritual warfare and life fields is the Word of God. There may be attacks of doubt, despair, and temptation in our lives, but faith in Jesus as Lord of the Resurrection will protect us and the Word of God will give us all victory. We do not wrestle against human, but against the forces and authorities, against rulers of darkness and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (12) We do not have to fight each other because humans are not our enemies, they are our neighbours we need to love. May spiritual growth be occurred with the hope and resiliency in Christ.
In today’s text, prayer in the Spirit is crucial. We cannot win the spiritual battle against Satan in our own strength. It must be the strength of the Lord. We do not need to be unduly fear the devil or evil because Jesus is everywhere. I hope we will be able to defend ourselves in Christ and we will still be standing firm before the Lord when the battle is over. We are to take on the enemy by Spirit-empowered words and by Spirit-inspired prayer. Our prayer needs to be based on what God has spoken to us, not on what we like to think or imagine about Him. Spiritual warfare must be undergirded with prayer. Our common weapon is prayer that the community is able to be strong in the strength of God’s power.
May we be to put on the full spiritual armor of God so that we will be able to win the spiritual war against the devil. If our armor is in place, we can stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Our community is encouraged to know God’s presence to be closer and more active, to walk on God’s love, God’s truth, and God’s way of peace. Do we have all our pieces of armor on? If not, which ones do we need to put into place? Are we under-girding our battle with prayer? We are to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. I believe that we can be strong in the Lord. When God is glorified, His people are blessed. May we put on whole armor of God in Christ. I hope and pray that we are equipped, protected, and transformed to do God’s work together by protecting whole creation and putting on full armor of God.
Thanks be to God! Amen.
(Ref. Bible, commentaries, theological books, UCA materials)
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Thanks to God in the Name of Jesus Christ 15-08-2021

15th August 2021 Pentecost 12 (Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost)
Give Thanks to God in The Name of Jesus Christ
(Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 3:3-14, Ephesians 5:15 – 20)
By Heeyoung Lim

After David’s death, the role of leadership passes to his son, Solomon. Intimate relationship with God is required to lead the people of God. He sought relationship with God by going to worship. This was not a private ceremony but a national act of worship with the massive number of sacrifices such as a thousand burnt offerings. Solomon, as a king, made the Lord a priority. In response to Solomon’s worship, the Lord appeared to him in a dream with an amazing offer: Ask for whatever you want me to give you. (1 Kings 3:4) It was a divine revelation and God’s offer was a remarkable generosity.
Solomon’s response was a mixture of gratitude and humility because he focused on God and his own weakness. He felt incompetent because he does not know how to carry out his duties. He faced a responsibility that overwhelmed him and realized himself the king of the people God has chosen.
He made a request that brought pleasure to the heart of God: Give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people. He wants to provide good leadership with a posture of servant leadership for God’s people. Solomon is very much aware of his own inadequacies as far as serving in the role of king. He asks for the ability to fulfill the role of governing God’s people well. He does not ask for wealth or power, he asks for wisdom that he might lead the people in accordance with God’s desires. His hope pleases God so that God gives him even the riches and honour he did not ask for. God provides beyond our expectations or even deserving. We are called to serve God and community with God’s wisdom. May we be equipped with God’s wisdom.
A theologian, Dora says, “We need to seek wisdom and equip ourselves to build communities in which every person is valued; where the reality of justice and peace is experienced by all; where the vulnerable are protected, where power is used for the good of all.” It can be our wishes and prayer topics.
Today’s text continues our lives are to be lived in constant imitation of God and explores what it means to have wisdom in our lives. It draws the distinction between wisdom and foolishness. How do we discern what is wise and what is foolish in the choices we face?
It is not always easy to live a transformed life even when we want to because the world is filled with dangers and deceptions. We can get tripped up by people and temptation without even being aware of risks. Therefore, we must be fervently in our efforts to stop committing evil sins. We must be very careful to live our life rooted in God’s wisdom, for our own wisdom is biased and limited. God wants us to live in accordance with His words and to use our time wisely. The time we are given is not our own, it is God-given.
We are often not good at time management. When I was a Uni-student, I tried a time audit for myself for 4 months. I was shocked by the differences between the plan and actual use whenever I reviewed how I spent my time. However, through that experience, I was able to see how much I was wasting my time in vain, reflect how much I trying to seek God, and change into a person who can use my time a little better.
Having turned away from the old self to the new, Christians are called to being of the body of Christ. Verse 17 says, “not get drunk with wine … but be filled with the Spirit”. Unwise behaviour harms the body of Christ, and it wastes the precious time left before Christ comes again.
Paul tells us about how to commune with God, how to live for Him, and how to serve and obey Him. He contrasts between how the god of Ephesus is served and how the God of heaven is served. (18) We can discern God’s will and serve Him faithfully by being filled with the Holy Spirit. In Acts, in the miraculous instances of the filling of the Spirit which resulted in speaking in tongues and other extraordinary activities. In Ephesians 5:18, when we are commanded to be filled with the Spirit, it has no extraordinary events occurring with it. “Be filled” in this verse means directed, influenced, and governed by the Holy Spirit.
The second half of this passage emphasizes living wisely with giving thanks to God and speaking to others with music from the spirit. “Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (19-20) It describes that there are three characteristics of the person filled with the Holy Spirit, which are the way of speaking, importance of music, and attitude of gratitude. Paul urges his listeners to be “singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts” (19) True worship begins in one’s heart and the centre of one’s being. God delights to respond to our prayers that come from the bottom of our hearts.
The Scripture tells us that thanksgiving is a way of shifting toward the will of God or opening to God’s guidance. The attitude and practice of thanksgiving in worship and life keep our mind and direction to God. Praising God is our privilege and responsibility at the same time. God is the only one who deserves our praise, but today the Bible tells us to respond to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. This list indicates that singing is an important part of worship in our community of faith.
When the faith community is living out worship and praise of God together, its life will be transformed wisely. Worship contributes to unify, sustain, and develop the community a way that permeates all aspects of life. Worship is not a weekly event, but a way of daily living.
Today’s text invites us to speak and sing just like giving music each other by blessings, comforts, and encouragements. The harmony by speaking and singing in a community would be beautiful if the members of community are filled with the Holy Spirit. I believe that being filled with the Spirit results in mutual love and service to one another.
God is our source of wisdom and life, and true wisdom begins in the recognition of God’s presence. We can warmly embrace others by blessings just like music and can give thanks to God all the time and for everything because our lives have been new, forgiven, and transformed as followers of Jesus. God’s offer to Solomon resembles Jesus’s invitation of “ask, and it shall be given.” In what ways do we seek wisdom in our relationship with God?
We face many challenges as we strive to follow Jesus in our lives. Some of us have recently lost loved ones. Some of us are struggling with relationship issues. Some of us have serious health problems. Yet today’s text tells us, “Give thanks to God at all times and for everything.” All of us face challenges in life, but I believe that we can still give thanks to God. That is not our duty, it is our privilege.
Now we can pause and think about our lives, all the opportunities we’ve been given, all the gifts given by God, the presence of the Holy Spirit, and Living worship and wisdom. May we can give thanks to our Saviour for the gift of salvation we have received and praise and glorify God. We do not know what challenges we may face, what pain may come our way. But I believe it is possible for us to thank God as followers of Jesus, anywhere, anytime. I pray that we can give thanks in the name of Jesus no matter where we are or what we are doing.

Thanks be to God! Amen. 
(Ref. Bible, commentaries, theological books, UCA materials)

Walk in the Love of Christ 08-08-2021

8th August 2021 Pentecost 11 (Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost)
Walk in The Love of Christ
(Scripture Reading: Psalm 130, Ephesians 4:25 – 5:2)
By Heeyoung Lim

Psalm 130 is a hymn that records the unknown psalmist’s confession of sin and God’s pardoning grace. This penitential psalm is for worshippers who are already justified by faith and have received forgiveness of their sins. Out of the depths of severe distress, the psalmist cried out to God and waits for the Lord. He confessed his sins, seeking forgiveness from God, and he encouraged others to do the same. When we have unconfessed sin in our lives, God waits for us to seek His grace and forgiveness.
The writer cried to God, “If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand?” Nobody can stand if the Lord keeps a record. The psalmist’s source of discouragement came from sin within rather than from outside. (Psalms 130:1) When desperation filled his heart, he pleads with urgency. True repentance is accompanied by always has a sincerity, brokenness, and remorse. His cry for mercy is a confession of sin, seeking forgiveness from God.
The psalmist continues, “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His word, I put my hope.” (Psalm 130: 5) He waits for full restoration and trusts in God’s word which promises blessings. He waited for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning. (6) Psalm 130 invites us to put our hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with Him is full redemption. (7) I believe that God’s people live and rest in his unconditional love and divine peace. We trust in God’s unbreakable covenant and hope based upon the immutable love of God. God is not absent in our despair. May we repent, be patient and remain confident in the love of God. May God’s steadfast love be upon you.
May we never do anything to grieve God, for we love God. Therefore, let us turn from the things that grieve and towards things that bring God joy. Today’s second text leads us to focus on serving and pleasing Christ.

Ephesians 4:25 begins by exhorting us to stop lying and instead make truth telling a habit of life. We should not deceive one another; rather by speaking the truth, we keep unity in the body as members of the one body.
We may not always be able to keep from getting angry, but we strive not sin when we do. When we do get angry, we must be extra careful to not harm others and deal with it before the day is through. If we are not able to control and manage the anger, it may give the devil an opportunity to gain control over our attitudes and relationships. It can be a foothold that leads to greater anger and more sin. (26-27)
Christians are not to steal, which is a timeless and universal value. We work and serve instead of stealing from the Lord and others. We live and work to worship, love, and serve Christ. The Bible describes God’s expectations for our lives. God’s work must be done God’s way through us. We are to live in such a way that our lives will be so distinctive, that neighbours and co-workers will want to know why.
Verse 29 says, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” (29) We are to speak only words that build up and encourage others. Words of a mature Christian seek to help those who listen. The unity of the body of Christ may be preserved and enhanced through our response and obedience. This is not to say we can never say anything negative. There are times when we must talk about unpleasant things, particularly in solving problems with others. All find it necessary at times, to tell the truth or offer advice even if it is unpleasant. Whether we are solving a problem or not, our intent is always to build up, not tear down, to unify, not divide. (30)
Today’s text tells us that each of us must rid ourselves of six sins: bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. (31) Rather we should be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (32) We are to put on three virtues: kindness, compassion, and forgiveness, for Jesus showed us the love and forgiveness, modelled for us by Christ. God’s commands will bring challenges, but they remind us of the amazing possibilities for those who have been re-created in Christ, brought into the church, and called to live out the gospel. When we live together in the love and forgiveness of Christ, the church will be built up, people will become holy, and Christ’s body will be unified.
God’s love and forgiveness transform us to live life to its fullness as the Body of Christ. The Bible calls the church to transform its culture into that of the kingdom of God. It is just more than just getting along and doing something; it is being the Body of Christ. The church is to be motivated and governed by God’s love and witness to the love of Christ. I believe that our church will be a place of living love where Christ’s love rules. Paul reminds us to follow God’s example and walk in the way of love as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us. (5:1-2)
In today’s world there is an emphasis on achieving goals quickly. Many people like to do things quickly and can take short cuts, but our faith journey as followers of Jesus does work step by step.
The theologian Martin Luther said, “This life, therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being purified.”
The journey can be rough, but we can move forward gradually, learning to love as Jesus loves, growing towards fullness of Christ. Love and forgiveness are not from our abilities, they come from God.
Paul called upon them not to “grieve the Holy Spirit of God”. (30) Christianity is an ongoing encounter with the living, and loving God in revealed in Christ Jesus. Our life of following Jesus is work in progress. We keep on striving to live out our faith through loving actions. We are always on the way with the Holy Spirit as our helper. We follow Christ in hopes that we will grow into the likeness of Christ through the Holy Spirit and that God will use us as instruments to bring in God’s peace, justice, and love.
As God’s beloved children, we do not just love God, praise God, worship God or, thank God. We also follow and imitate Jesus in faith and life by walking in love and forgiven. May we keep on becoming imitators of God and walk in the love of Christ.
Thanks be to God! Amen.

(Ref. Bible, commentaries, theological books, UCA materials, quote by Martin Luther)

Unity in the Body of Christ 01-08-2021

1st August 2021 Pentecost 10 (Tenth Sunday after Pentecost) Unity in The Body of Christ
(Scripture Reading: Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15, Ephesians 4:1-16)
By Heeyoung Lim
The whole Israel community grumbled against Moses and Aaron during their journey because of the lack of food. The Israelites exaggerated their current difficulties and even overstated and distorted how well they fared in Egypt. They forgot God’s grace of salvation and did not trust in God.
However, God said to Moses, “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites.” (9) Moses directed Aaron to gather the community to come before the Lord, who had heard their grumbling. While Aaron was addressing the community, the glory of the Lord appeared toward the desert in a cloud. The Lord’s response to this grumbling would be to give them meat in the evening and bread in the morning. The Lord told Moses that he would miraculously provide for the Israelites by raining down bread from heaven and that they were to gather it according to His order. God would also provide meat for them in the evening (13). Moses reminded them that the complaints were not to Moses and Aaron, but to God.
In demonstrating His power to create out of nothing, the Lord revealed Himself as the Lord their God. God continually said to Moses, “At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning, you shall be filled with bread. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.” The Lord commanded and Moses directed the people to gather as much as they needed per day for each member of the household. The Lord our God hears our prayers and even grumbling, there are God’s guidance and rule we need to follow even when He cares for each of us.
Sometimes morning manna and evening quail seem to be hidden or ceased in our lives, but God wants us to see and concentrate on the grace and gifts instead of the desert we are experiencing. God asks us to live ‘todays’ to the fullest, trusting Him for our ‘tomorrows’. If we have not prayed and sought God’s wisdom for the trials we are facing, we may grumble and complain first instead of blessings and encouragements. There is no satisfaction and peace in disobedience, but there is security and appreciation in obedience. Unrealistic expectations and exceeding greedy almost always lead to complaining when something does not go

our way. Little steps of faith bring larger steps of faith and our steps run towards the fullest of Christ.
In today’s second reading, Paul describes himself as a prisoner for the Lord and urges Ephesians to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which they have been called. (Ephesians 4:1) Paul was physically in prison when he wrote Ephesians, but he had been living in freedom. He was OK because he had given up his freedom to follow Christ. We are not in prison, but we partly experience half freedom just like lockdown. There are many restrictions we should follow for our health and safety during lockdown.
Just as athletes who participated in the Olympics sprint to win prizes, we need to do our best in our life and faith. Athletes who participate in Olympic Games may aim to win medals or to elevate the names of their countries as national representatives. May we be also one of national representatives of the kingdom of God. The goal of the race of faith can be the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. (13)
Here are some Bible verses about life for the Lord. It is not only about the prize and competition, but also about Christian’s lifestyles and rules.
“And in the case of an athlete, no one is crowned without competing according to the rules.” (2 Timothy 2:5)
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” (1 Corinthians 9:24)
“And let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1)
Paul said, “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call” (2-4) We are called to do all, but it is not easy. For instance, it was not a piece of humility, but all humility. Patience is believing God’s timetable is good, no matter what it is. Somethings we want do not always come quickly. We can say that patience is one of characteristics of mature people. When we remember that the Lord is our God, it helps us be patient. Especially Paul calls for unity in the third verse and spends the next thirteen verses elaborating on it. The unity exists in Christ and is maintained by the Spirit.

We can live in unity with one another since we are spiritually united in Christ with all other Christians. God wants us to live holy lives, put behind us the sins of the past, and live a Christian lifestyle that reflects the values of Christ. Each of us received a spiritual gift by the grace of God. That grace has not been apportioned the same. Each is different, it is not people’s choice. Rather Christ has chosen what and how to give grace to each member. It is not about discrimination or favouritism; it is about difference and choice that come from God’s way.
Verse 7 and 11 tell us about the relationship between the call to unity and the spiritual gifts Christ has given us. Spiritual gifts are at the heart of Christ’s strategy for building his church. The gifts are given for the church and its ministries. This is for equipping the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ. (12) The head of the church, Jesus wants each part of the body to mature and grow, not concentrating on its excellence and some favoured parts. Each part of the body is needed to hold the whole body together in unity. Spiritual unity by being united needs to be manifested through our words and deeds. If each part is encouraged to exist, work, and grow, the body will become more mature, healthy, and lovely. (16)
Today’s text invites us to become prisoners of the Lord just as Paul was a prisoner for the Lord spiritually and physically. We have restrictions, responsibilities, and rules we need to follow for living out the gospel. The Christian life requires that we stop doing bad things as well as start doing good things. May this week be a time of “fasting” from complaints or bad things as they come into our mind.
God has given the church what it needs to be healthy, growing, and mature. We can wake up each morning and end up each night with appreciation, saying, “Thank you, Lord”. We can also pray to God and seek God’s wisdom for the trials we are facing. May love and respect for others will be developed between relationships of individuals and communities so that we be able to feel the love of God wherever we are. Our job is not to create unity, but to maintain it. I hope we live in the unity and mutual ministry with others and in holiness before God. Spiritual maturity requires that we be in mutual ministry. I pray that we all grow to spiritual maturity and eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Thanks be to God! Amen.
(Ref. Bible, commentaries, theological books, UCA materials)

Jesus’ Love and Care 25-07-2021

25th July 2021 Pentecost 9 (Ninth Sunday after Pentecost)
Jesus’ Love and Care
(Scripture Reading: Ephesians 3:14-21, John 6: 1 – 21)
By Heeyoung Lim

I’ve had the experience of feeling better and working efficiently by only changing my desk to a position I can see out the window during this lockdown. Just like small changes can make a positive change in our lives, there are times when our life and faith need renovation or construction. I sincerely hope that a change of life and faith that pleases God can follow during these arduous times. We do not need to have room in our heart where hidden sins are kept, and sinful desires are grown. I believe that we become obedient to God’s words when Jesus is dwelling in every corner of our life through our faith.
Paul’s kneeling posture before God contrasts to common practice of standing to pray and represents humility and godly worship. (Ephesians 3:15) Our Father God hears and answers our prayers. Paul’s four prayer topics are inner spiritual strength, deep faith, abundant love (love of Christ), and God’s fullness. (16-21) Inner spiritual strength is not about positive thinking or mental renewing. God is the giver of spiritual growth and insight. It is important to ask God to increase our spiritual growth.
The promise of salvation is not the end on our faith journey. It means that our faith needs to be grown and deepen. Faith that rests on only the promise of salvation can easily lead to spiritual stagnation. Paul prayed for deep faith. Mature believers are strengthened by the Holy Spirit and filled with the fullness of God. They also comprehend the abundance of God’s love and grace.
We need to search the love of God until love becomes the roots of our existence. May we pray continuously that the Lord would strengthen us with power through His Spirit in our inner being, that Christ would dwell in our hearts through faith, that we would experience the love of Christ, and be filled to the fullness of God. God should receive eternal glory for what he has done for us. God is glorified through our sincere response; His family, the church, is the centrepiece of God’s work in the world today.
Paul’s prayer is full of hope for spiritual blessings and faith growth, and his praise is grounded in gratitude for the power at work within us that can accomplish abundantly more than we can ask. (21) Beyond our small hopes and imaginations, God is at work, fulfilling His plans. The strengthening of our inner person by the Holy Spirit allows us to let Christ be at our heart.
When Christ occupies our heart, we can live with confidence in His love and care. Whenever we remember His love and care, we are able to love others with the love of Christ. The sense of being loved gives us the ability to relate to and love others, so we can experience with others the love of God. This ability to know God’s love leads to the fullness of God in us. That is Paul’s prayer for us. (19) We can participate in His kingdom on earth because Christ’s life, power, love, and His presence inhabit us. God’s presence with us sustains us in all circumstances, but we often forget the abundance we have, and we frequently misuse that. Today’s text shows us the ways in which Jesus provides for us, and the ways that cooperate with His abundant blessings.
John 6 tells us two miracles: the feeding of the 5000 and Jesus’ walking on the water. We remember that God fed Israel during their wilderness wanderings with ‘manna’ which was bread from heaven. (Exodus 16) It was provided by God because the people were complaining. John 6 opens with the feeding story which is told in all four gospels. Philip and Andrew did not know what to do when they need food for the 5000, but Andrew brought and introduced a boy with the bread and fish to Jesus. We can never tell what He is going to do with it, but we can respond through what we have.
We are called to respond to Jesus’ work among us and extend His abundant gifts to others. What are our five loaves and two fishes? If Jesus involves in and touches something we have, everything is possible in Christ. The smallest would transfer to the biggest in Jesus’ hands, and our normal story would transform to God’s miracle. We will be witnesses of Jesus’ miracle and God’s abundance whenever Jesus touches our own loaves and fishes.
Jesus not only fed the crowd, but also saved them just as God led and fed the people in the desert. He echoes the miracle of the Exodus when God parted the waters of the Red Sea. God provides more than we need – food, healing, blessing, grace, faith, and salvation. Jesus has not come to be people’s king who will give them what they want. He is the only way to the Father and the only source of spiritual food. I believe that God will move us safely to next destination in the middle of our faith journey.
His disciples were more than halfway across when they saw Jesus walking on the water. Jesus knew their problems with faith and fear. The disciples in the boat were felt God’s powerful presence when Jesus walked on the water. Jesus told them not to be afraid while they were frightened. He said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” (20) “Then they glad to take Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.” We do not know the next destination or the name of land we are going, but we will be joyful if we invite and follow Jesus all the time.
Jesus comes to the disciples, across the waves, walking on the sea. He speaks to them and saves them. We would be full of fear if we were in a storm on the sea and the waves were getting bigger. We may be sailing in the sea of anxiety and depression in the midst of continuous COVID. However, Jesus speaks to us in the waves of fear we face, “It is I, do not be afraid.” His living words gives us peace and strength. God comes to us in unexpected and powerful ways and tells us not to be afraid. Jesus’ disciples witnessed the feeding and the walking on water and kept following Jesus where He led.
How are we receive God’s abundance and respond to the miracle of being fed and saved? Even when our faith is weak, God wants to work in and through us. May we approach God with freedom and confidence. May God’s love and care come to us and Christ dwell in our hearts through our faith and life. God gives us both physical and spiritual needs through Jesus. God is our provider, and His grace is sufficient. We have been given God’s abundant blessings and gifts that are needed to live out our faith. The Good News is not about obtaining something we want from the Lord, it is that Jesus Christ is our saviour and the Lord of our life. True blessings are not about worldly wealth, fame, and power, it is about inner spiritual strength, deep faith, abundant love (love of Christ), and God’s fullness. Jesus calls us to follow Him even on the challenging journey of faith. May the fullness of God will be with you all and the strength of inner person will be stronger.
Thanks be to God! Amen. 

(Ref. Bible, commentaries, theological books, UCA materials)

One in Christ 18-07-2021

18th July 2021 Pentecost 8 (Eighth Sunday after Pentecost) One in Christ
(Scripture Reading: Ephesians 2:11-22, Mark 6: 30-34, 53-56)
By Heeyoung Lim
Ephesians 2:11-22 continues the theme of unity, with an emphasis on peace between two different groups. In verse 11, Paul contrasts the Gentiles’ hopeless condition before salvation with the Jews. The Ephesian church has experienced friction between Jewish and Gentile Christians. Hostility and hatred towards each other created a wall of separation between them, but Christ abolished the wall by making them one before Him. In Christ both Jew and Gentile have been united with God and each other. God wants us to be at peace with one another; He wants us to be reconciled to each other.
To tell another of our saving experience is to tell of God’s grace in Christ that brought us eternal salvation. Any boasting words from our mouth should speak about Christ and the gospel, not about us. Life separated from Christ is death, no matter what it may seem to be now. If you want hope for eternality, accept Christ’s salvation, serving in love. You cannot be joined to Christ and separated in hate and mistrust from other people. (22)
God did not leave the Gentiles in their hopeless condition but showed mercy and love. Christ abolished the distinction between Jew and Gentile. All people are now considered the same before God. His death on the cross made this wonderful thing possible. (13)
What is the relationship between salvation by grace and being created for good works? Salvation comes only through God’s mercy in Christ and the believers do good works in response to God’s mercy. Christ is the one who gives us peace with God, for He himself is our peace. God wants peace to be both horizontal and vertical, between individuals and groups. He wants us to be at peace with one another; and He wants us to be reconciled to each other, to be at peace with Him. (14)
Today’s story is about spiritual union between the two. We are brought near to God by the blood of Christ and made one with others. (13-18) I

believe we are part of God’s holy temple. (19-22) What does it mean to dwell in God? God lives in you through the Holy Spirit and Christ joins all believers together in God’s peace and love.
We can describe the difference between our life in Christ and before Christ. We are living in the place where God dwells as well as a threatened world. We all sometimes want to get away from it all, to retreat to a peaceful and quiet place, and shut out the busy world. What do you do? I love listening to music and reading a book.
In between today’s verse we have the feeding of the 5000. The Lectionary handles the feeding miracle next week, so that we are given just the few verses which precede the feeding and summary of activities which follows both the feeding and Jesus walking on water.
Mark 6:30-34 begins with the return of the twelve from their mission. In verse 7-13, they were sent out to heal and to teach and have returned. Verse 31 tells that “Many were coming and going, and they had no time to eat.” The disciples were again besieged by people, went through the countryside, telling everyone that Jesus was present. They became so busy that they do not even have enough time to eat. This overload of pressure has affected them deeply, both physically and spiritually. That is why Jesus took His disciples away to a deserted spot.
Jesus knew what ministry felt like to heal people, to preach from town to town with crowds following Him. He knew what it was like to get caught up in God’s work rather than caring for daily needs. He had compassion for the disciples and encouraged them to come away from the crowds to get some rest. (30) They got into a boat and sought to reach a quiet place, however too many people saw them leave. (32)
Jesus felt compassion for the people, viewing them as sheep without a shepherd. No animal is as dependent upon a shepherd as a sheep. Without the shepherd to lead, sheep wander aimlessly and get lost, even die of thirst. Without the shepherd, wolves can devour the sheep. Jesus viewed the people as helpless sheep. He led them and pointed them to the kingdom of God. Herod and other religious leaders however were lost. Jesus continued preaching, teaching, and healing the crowds because of His compassion and love.
In the last part of today’s text, news of Jesus’ previous miracle brought those with sick out to Him. Jesus revealed himself as a true shepherd through teaching, feeding, leading, preaching, and healing. He provided

divine hospitality. In verse 56, all who touched Him were healed, but his ministry did not end here. Jesus and His disciple’s ministry will be much longer and harder. As we know, Jesus saw the needy people as sheep without a shepherd. He did not treat them as an interruption. He offered God’s love and healed them. Jesus is our good shepherd; He will lead us in all aspects of life. May we be alert and open to opportunities to love and serve the Good shepherd.
However, it is important for us to see here that Jesus encouraged His disciples to stop and care for themselves. Jesus also encourages us to care for ourselves. Why do we keep busy when we need to stop and rest? Why do we choose not to rest at times? By not resting, we may be in danger of burnout. Was it to call the people to repentance and live God’s ways of love, peace, and justice? There would be valuable motivations and various reasons for the Lord and others. Do we emotionally and repeatedly feel ups and downs in COVID-19 pandemic? During our current lockdown, we really need good balance in all areas of our daily life and peace in all our relationships.
We are one in Christ; we still have walls between relationships and groups, but we have peace in Christ. The peace Christians have in Christ enables us to engage boldly in what may appear to the rest of the world as hopeless situations. One of theologian, Karen says, “Eliminating boundaries itself does not create peace. Peace comes only by eliminating the hostility behind the dividing walls. God does not merely tear down walls but unites people in the One who is our peace, creating one new humanity.” In this way we can play our small part in spreading God’s love and peace.
Today’s text urges us to let ourselves be built into a temple where God can dwell, rather than building walls that separate us. Each of us is called to be God’s co-worker in the ministry of peace and reconciliation. May the love of Christ abolish the unnecessary walls in our lives. I pray we will be confident in God’s power and united as one in Christ. May we be God’s temple and exercise self-care by resting in Christ.
Thanks be to God! Amen.
(Ref. Bible, commentaries, theological books, UCA materials)

Spiritual Blessings in Christ 11-07-2021

11th July 2021 Pentecost 7 (Seventh Sunday after Pentecost)
Spiritual Blessings in Christ
(Scripture Reading: Ephesians 1:3-13)
By Heeyoung Lim

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 1:2) This is Paul’s greeting for the saints of Ephesians. Our daily greeting can be transformed into a godly greeting of grace and peace when we are in Christ. May we have peace and comfort in Christ even though we are surrounded by the negative reality of the world.
We are confronted with so many things in the world that seem to be out of order. Many parts of it are broken and torn by human being. Reordering and fixing are necessary in God’s hands. God is at work, calls and uses us for His great ministry.
We have been born into and grown up in a fallen world, so we have learned the ways of the world, but we are in Christ when we become a Christian. We are no longer who we once were, but we often do not see who we really are. Ephesians1 helps us see who we truly are as Christians. If we could see ourselves more clearly as who we are in Christ, we would be able to live more consistently like Him.
May we live by the inclusive love and ways of Jesus Christ even in new forms of life. The prophetic words and actions that resists against injustice, on the other, works for communities of peace and justice, in the name of a gracious, righteous, and loving Christ, has led Christians to ministries and worship that witness reconciliation and restoration.
Paul tells the Ephesian Christians about praise be to God. God the Father chose us and adopted us as his spiritual children. (5) God the Son redeemed us, forgave us of our sins, enlightened us to know His will, and has given us an eternal inheritance. (7) God the Spirit sealed us, made us secure in Christ, and led us for our redemption. (13)
Christians need to be spiritually enlightened so they may understand the glorious plan of God for the whole world and the greatness of God’s power. God reorders and renews the universe through His encompassing plan of salvation. Everything is in His unconditional love and powerful control. Through the ministries of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Christians have been given every necessary spiritual blessing. God promised the riches of their inheritance in Christ.
Spiritual blessings lie on the will of God to provide grace and peace to His people, but we sometimes do not remember His grace or miss out His blessings. We have received the blessing of being chosen by God and adopted by Him as his spiritual children. An adopted child who is brought into a family has the same rights as a child born into that family. God did this through Jesus. All our sins are forgiven in Jesus because we have believed in Jesus as our Saviour.
However, this does not mean that true Christians never sin. It means our sin is paid for by the death of Christ. His death paid the price for our release from sin and death. This is our spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. This redemption and the forgiveness were accomplished by the death of Christ on the cross where He shed his blood and died to save us. Making forgiveness possible was a major accomplishment in God’s eyes, since it required the sacrifice of blood and the death of his Son, Jesus. (7) This decision for us came out of God’s grace which He lavished on us with all wisdom and insight. (8)
We are predestined to become Christian believers, but responsible for our action because of free will at the same time. We can take both rather than choosing or following one between these two theological perspectives.
Here we have some Bible verses about God’s salvation and human election.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
“First of all, I urge that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone. (1 Tim. 2:1)
“This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth”. (1 Tim. 2: 3-4).
“The Lord is not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).
This is God’s will towards people and the world revealed throughout some Bible verses and spiritual blessings in Christ. The blessings need to be shared in our lives. We do not know the result, but we can commit ourselves to the spread of the gospel message. May we participate in the God’s plan of redemption for those who still do not believe in Jesus and forgive someone who has mistreated us in the love of Christ. Making it possible would be difficult, but I am sure it is time to lavish on others with all our wisdom and love God has given us.
God wants us to be holy and blameless in His sight as in verse 4. We are in Jesus who is holy and blameless. May we be holy and blameless in God’s sight.
In the Holy Spirit, we are sealed until the day of salvation if we believe in Jesus until the very end. This will be for when we are still alive on earth, after we die, or at Christ’s return. This spiritual blessing is to bring praise to God for His grace in our lives (12). We can see ourselves as someone very precious because of all God has done for us.
As we shared, the Bible tells us to praise God the Father who chose us and adopted us as His spiritual children according to God’s plan to receive an inheritance which will possess in full when we stand before God in heaven. In Christ, we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin; we have been spiritually enlightened and enriched. In the Holy Spirit, we were sealed and made secure. May we be enlightened to understand the significance of these spiritual blessings in Christ. I pray we who are the first to hope in Christ may be to the praise of glory.
How blessed we are! God has given us spiritual blessings in Christ. We do not always feel spiritually blessed, but we need to remember that we are truly blessed. God is to be praised by His creation. As in verse 6 and 12, may we be the praise of His glory. Our fellowship and love for God will be reflected in intimate love and complete unity among other believers. Our efforts through loving and caring in our relationship with God’s creation will be a good way to participate in what God wants us to do. It would be one of ways to share spiritual blessings.
I believe that we are glad and happy to live our lives as Christians. May we enjoy the Christian life more completely and to live like Christ more consistently. At the fulfillment of God’s plan, all that exists will live in the relationship with God. May we enjoy the fact that we belong to God and the family of God, participate in God’s loving plan for all creation. I hope we be grateful that God has forgiven our sins and given us eternal life. May we praise God, love others, take good care of God’s creation in the appreciation for spiritual blessings in Christ.
The church will always be challenged by God’s revelation in Jesus Christ to love and serve God and people to renew herself in worship, life, and mission. We are chosen for praise to God, destined for worship God, and appointed to the glory of God. Let us remember we have received the lavish blessings from God. It is time to share it with others. God is the one who is giver of all blessings and source of life.
May God’s abundant blessings will be shared in Christ.
Thanks be to God! Amen. 

(Ref. Bible, commentaries, theological books, UCA materials)

Jesus Shares His Ministry 04-07-2021

4th July 2021 Pentecost 6 (Sixth Sunday after Pentecost)
Jesus Shares His Ministry
(Scripture Reading: Mark 6:11-13)
By Heeyoung Lim
Mark 6 tells the story of Jesus’ hometown rejection and God’s mission through disciples’ teamwork. We are all individuals as well as members of groups or communities. A team player is someone who actively contributes to their group to complete tasks, achieve goals or win the games. Teamwork and team spirit are essential for all groups, communities, sports games, and nations. In many sports games, a good match or a win occurred when a team played well together, not when an individual does well alone. Team players listen to their co-workers and help other team members to achieve their common goals. They understand that their team’s success is their own success, and they share responsibility even when their team experiences difficulties.
Jesus spent most of his time in Nazareth before his public ministry. He went home to Nazareth with His disciples after many ministries, but he was rejected and mocked by his own people. It was not just family visiting, He was invited by a synagogue to teach. The listeners were offended, not at what Jesus said or what he did but at who he was. (3)
The people in his hometown considered Him as just Mary’s son, elder son, and carpenter’s son rather than the one who God sent. The power of God which Jesus possessed required the receptivity of faith, but they were in the absence of faith. It caused the hardening of people’s hearts against God. Verse 5 says, “He could do no mighty work there.” Lack of faith hinders Jesus’ power. Mark tells us about faith as a critical element in the healing mission of Jesus, but Jesus’s power and freedom cannot be limited by human faith. Jesus himself chooses when and how to use his power. He healed people through compassion not on demand or popularity. (5) One of theologian, Hendriksen said, “The spread of the gospel has the priority over personal likes and dislikes.” God’s mission has nothing to do with human popularity or demands, it has been given by God’s grace and love.
In Mark 6, Jesus sends out his disciples to travel the countryside and moves on the Gentile areas, to heal the sick, and to proclaim the need for repentance for the forgiveness of sins. In today’s text, Jesus tells His 12 disciples what not to take with them on their mission, rather than telling them what to take. The disciples were recognised for what they do not take with them on their journey. How about us? Many of us are probably interested in what we do take or possess rather than “lightness”. Jesus adds instructions on how they are to travel for their mission of testifying and healing. He tells them to travel light without bread, traveller’s bag, and money. The lightness of travel will show trust in the divine authority. (8-9)
If they meet the risk of hospitality and rejection in any place, they are requested to shake the dust from under their feet and then move on in accordance with Jesus’ commands. The experience of rejection from Jesus’ hometown could be a signal of what was to be faced in their work and ministry. Jesus prepared his disciples for potential rejection and extended His ministry first by sharing it with the disciples.
Jesus had already chosen the Twelve to be with Him, and to be sent out to proclaim the gospel, and to have authority to cast out demons. Now, he sends them out in pairs to be witnesses. Jesus sent them out in teams of two. The reason may be that in Israel, the law demanded two witnesses for any testimony. (Deut. 17:6) The sharing of a common mission by two people would help bind the disciples into a more cohesive group. The strength of two is more than doubled. They were Jesus’ beautiful teams.
Jesus gave the disciples authority over evil spirits. They did not go under their own authority but the power and authority of Jesus. The missions Jesus has given to them are inbreaking of the kingdom, empowering with Jesus’ authority to cast out demons, and anointing and healing the sick. Anointing with oil signifies the presence of the Holy Spirit. (12) It was a symbol of God’s grace being poured on them. It also signified that the one who applied the oil was a mouthpiece of God’s grace and healing power. The disciples’ mission was successful. (12-13) They carried out the command of Jesus. They brought first a message of repentance, forgiveness of sins, and the need for the people to turn to God. The second message they brought was that of physical healing. It was possible with Jesus.
Jesus calls us to follow Him. We go wherever He leads because He is leading us to a place where He is with us. And he has promised his presence even in the dark at times. The darkness, whether it be through difficulties or suffering, can be connected to the growth and the beauty of the life and faith within us. Jesus wants us to follow Him individually and collectively.
Jesus is aware of our needs and comes to us in our distress and our provisions always come from Him. Jesus calls us to be a part of His ministry to the world; He watches over us and prays for us. We may face the storms of life, but the waves will not overtake us because Jesus is with us. May we do not depend on worldly view but be confident in God’s power as Christians, disciples, leaders, stewards, and most importantly team members. Good stewardship demands that we do not waste God’s resources.
Our priority of mission is to tell people to repent and turn to God. May we also bind their wounds, feed their hunger, satisfy their thirst, and cast out demons. Do we have a “quiet place” to be with Jesus so He can restore our soul and help us cope with the burdens of ministry? There are hard decisions to make when we travel. How much luggage can we take? Some of us take too much luggage while we are traveling and living. But do we really need all that stuff? Do we have “lightness” on our faith journey? We are surrounded by the lack of faith and struggled between lightness and heaviness in our lives, but we do our roles and mission by taking care of people’s physical needs as well as their spiritual needs as team members.
Jesus extended his ministry by sending out the twelve disciples. Now, Jesus is on the move, and he calls us to move with Him. He is aware of our needs and comes to us in our suffering; He watches over us and prays for us. Jesus calls us to follow Him. May we be confident in God’s power as Christians, disciples, leaders, and team players.
God’s mission has given to us under God’s timetable, though crisis comes, and challenge is ongoing. Jesus is sharing of His mission with us, but if we are trapped by our past and current challenges, we will not be free to move forward into new ways of following Jesus. I expect Leighmoor Congregation can be identified as “Team Jesus” in the eyes of Jesus. May we be more beautiful and powerful team for the Lord. May we also rely on the strength and love of God in our all circumstances and always walk with Jesus with the name of “Team Jesus”.
Thanks be to God. Amen.
(Ref. Bible, commentaries, theological books, UCA materials)

Time to Get Up 27-06-2021

27th June 2021 Pentecost 5 (Fifth Sunday after Pentecost)
Time to Get up
(Scripture Reading: Mark 5:21 – 43)
By Heeyoung Lim

Jesus is our healer; He will always be by our side. He frees us from all sins and evil, and he tells us to go back and spread the gospel of God. Just like people who were healed in faith and obedience by the power of Christ, it is important that we too “go and tell”, share the words of Jesus, and live-in worship and gratitude. We can tell people how much Jesus had done for us.
Another gift of Jesus offers is consolation, and we are the ones receiving consolation and comfort by Jesus. The passage of Mark chapter 5 tells the story of Jesus’ compassion, genuine love, and healing. It tells us about a girl restored to life and a woman healed.
Crowds were gathered when Jesus and his disciples crossed back across Lake Galilee. One group asked Jesus to leave, while the other welcomed Him. Some denied and rejected Him, but some welcomed and followed Him.
Jairus was a synagogue ruler. This was a respected and honored position in the community. In the first story, Jairus threw himself down at Jesus’ feet for Jesus to save his daughter. Jesus went with Jairus to his house so that his daughter may be healed.
A woman touched Jesus’ clothes whilst Jesus was on the way. The woman said to herself, “If I can only touch his clothes, I will be rescued.” Immediately the flow of blood ceased, and she felt healing in her body from her disease. (29) The bleeding stopped when she touched Jesus in faith. Jesus was immediately aware the power had gone out of Him. (30) Only the woman knew what had happened to her when Jesus asked the crowd, “Who touched my clothes?” She came in fear and trembling, fell down before Him, and told Him everything. Fear and anxiety may accompany in our lives, but most important thing is “coming to Jesus” in faith anywhere, anytime. When our lives crowd in with all their pressures and uncertainty, there is still room for us to look at Jesus and lean on Him. One of the most remarkable things is the way in which the healing happened even when the healer was not expecting it.
Jesus did not rebuke the woman for touching Him. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you, go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” Jesus called her daughter and said that her faith made her well though itself powerless. Her faith was recognised by Jesus. He healed her and restored her to community. Jesus wants us to be made whole by His healing power; He wants us to be restored to our faith community and society. Jesus calls us daughters and sons in faith and peace.
While He was still speaking, some people came from Jairus’ house to say, “Your daughter is dead.” Imagine Jairus’ sudden grief and doubts at these words, but in verse 36, Jesus said to Jairus, “Do not be afraid, only believe.” Jesus comforted and encouraged Jairus, and He told him to just believe. Likewise, Jesus is telling us to have a continuous and ongoing faith.
Jairus walked to his house in faith with Jesus and three disciples, Peter, James, and John. These three disciples are also mentioned at the Transfiguration and in Gethsemane. (Mark 5) Jesus said, “She is not dead, she is asleep.” The crowd laughed at Him, but Jesus got on with what had to be done. Taking only six people, he went into the room where the dead girl lay. Jesus took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” Immediately the girl got up and began walking around the room. Jesus strictly ordered them that no one should know about this and told them to give her something to eat. Jesus is concerned about the physical dimension of her and our lives.
When I first read this, I was so impressed by the last verse that Jesus told them to give her something to eat. Life-giving moments were not the end but rather the beginning. Jesus showed His compassion, genuine love, and continuous care for the healed woman, resurrected chid, and grieving man. The words of Christ give us hope and strength in the reality that he does really lead us to go the extra mile in looking after others in His name. Wherever we are living, in a caring community or uncaring society, may we be people that can take the extra step in faith and obedience, by blessing and loving others one more time. I believe it can be one of ways to extend the kingdom of God.
We do not exactly know the reasons why He only raise Jairus’ daughter, the widow’s son in Nain (Luke 7), and Lazarus (John 11), or why He tells them not to tell anyone, but we know His aim goes much deeper; these things are some of His signs of salvation and healing through His death and resurrection.
It is time to get up from the darkness, emotional difficulties, and spiritual stagnation. The life-giving power of God is breaking into our lives, and the unconditional love of God is working through the world we face even in our suffering from illness, anxiety from uncertainty, and depression from long-term isolation or loneliness. May we turn on the switch of Jesus’ light by coming to Jesus and leaning on Him. Jesus is with us. May we get up and begin to walk with Jesus together.
Jairus who had a very sick 12-year-old daughter rushed off to Jesus and the woman who suffered for 12 years from severe bleeding touched Jesus’ clothes. They had faith in Jesus and Christ gave healing. Two stories are about fear and faith. Jesus turned fear into faith, showed His unconditional love for the sick and outcasts, and proved his authority over disease and death. Truly, Jesus is our healer and comforter. For Christians, even death is passage to eternal life.
We are often in all sorts of emotional, physical, social, and spiritual pain. But God is quick to comfort, and he always knows what we are going through. May we be people that search for the Spirit’s voice and listen out when He speaks. There are times in life, especially in our past that we are ashamed of. However, may we be people that continues to show love and faith towards Christ Jesus who gives us a peace of mind and comfort.
We live by the word of Jesus Christ, and it is what gives us strength and comfort. We read the word “immediately” three times in today’s text. Let us not postpone our love and action towards God and others. I believe our lives will be restored by Jesus’ healing and life-giving power. Our life cannot be the way it was before if we are with Jesus. May we live today as a gift from God, like it is the first day of our lives but could also be the last day too.
God has given us the gift of life, with the responsibility to look after the church. May we all be people that allow God to work within us by keeping a good balance with Church and our lives, to wisely mature through and to love one another by the love of Christ. It is time to get up in accordance with Jesus’ word! Let us spread Gospel so that more people can meet and believe in Jesus, and they will become Christians and more like Christ, believing that Jesus is our healer, comforter, lover, and Savior.

Thanks be to God. Amen.
(Ref. Bible, commentaries, theological books, UCA materials)