The 2nd Korea Culture Camp is complete. Thank you for the many prayers and dedication. Above all, I was personally happy that the children who attended the camp had fun. I want to share some pictures with you.
Teachers gathered and prayed in the morning during the camp. We asked God to help us and asked for teachers to have wisdom and love in their hearts.
As the time passed, I realized something that it was not the time that teachers loved children, but the time the teachers were loved by them.
God gave us hands to help the camp every moment, thus the camp could proceed smoothly. I would like to thank you once again for praying for the camp and for taking the time to serve. Above all, we can confess this: God has overfilled with all the needs for this camp. In addition, we can confess that God did it.
As I finish the camp, I get to think about this: 'Can we do better next year?’ ‘May children want to come again next year?’
I would like to pray that the Korean culture camp will be a link between generations. I think Korean culture camp is like sowing seeds. The value of seed will appear when bearing fruit. Above all, I hope God's love will be planted in children's hearts. I hope they might learn how to live with others. I hope that it would be time for children to be trained to work together in challenging times. I hope that they would meet good friends in their life long. These seeds will grow and bloom and bear fruit. We might not see the fruits right away, but this will be a reason for why we continue seeding.
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55: 10-11).
As the seed of the Word of God is sown and eventually yields fruit, we hope that the seeds of love we sow may be fruitful someday. We hope that we should sow the good seeds and sow the seeds of the gospel that God is pleased with.
Today's text records what Paul and Barnabas did at Pisidian Antioch. Paul and Barnabas went the synagogues, which shows that they first met people who had the same culture. We should see Paul and Barnabas as the farmers who planted seeds.
What we will look at today is some part of Paul's preaching. Paul and Barnabas went to the synagogue on the Sabbath. In the synagogue, the rabbi usually read the Laws and prophecies in the scroll and preached. But now Paul was invited to share a message of encouragement for the people. Then Paul stands up and gave the speech in earnest.
'Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: Men of Israel and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me”
In the synagogue of Pisidian Antioch, it seems that there were not only Jews but also Gentiles. And to them, Paul introduces who God is. We may summarize Paul's sermon as ‘God did it’
God chose the people of Israel. God raised the people who were strangers in the land of Egypt and brought them to great power. God has endured their deeds for about forty years in the wilderness. God destroyed the seven tribes of Canaan, and gave the land to the Israelites as their inheritance. After that, God gave judges until the time of Samuel the prophet. After this, God gave them kings, Saul and David. It shows that God is involved in all of Israel's history and has ruled all things.
The life of people gathered in the Pisidian Antioch synagogue were not known: whether they might be in trouble or be sad or joy. But Paul's preaching to them is only a story about God. The most important thing for them is the knowledge of God and the Gospel. The Gospel is good news. There are countless big and small things in our life: In other words, we also experience so many sad, unhappy and painful things in our lives. Today's text tells us that the power to overcome all this comes from knowledge of God.
God chose the people of Israel. Why did God choose the people of Israel? Is the people smart? Is it because the people are rich? Is it because the nation is large and strong? The Bible says that God chose Israel because it was the smallest of all nations (Deut. 7: 7). God has chosen a small and weak nation. And God chose this nation as a kingdom of high priests. What is more surprising, however, is that the Israelites whom God chose did not love God nor respect God. Nevertheless, God still chose them and anointed them as the high priest in his kingdom. This is the Gospel. It is the gospel that God has chosen us, and that God has made us a people of God. When we know who we are and who we are, we realize that it is the Gospel that God has chosen us to be able to gather and worship together.
God freed the slave who was a stranger in the land of Egypt. At that time slavery was not a man, and in some ways it was lower than an animal. This means that God has chosen those people that were not worthy, but God made them prosper. God called the people of Israel as “His army” Let’s think about this: Israelites who were slaves who were not trained to be an army who were also not even outstanding. It also shows that God does not call us in our present form. Furthermore, just as God has called us, we are being done.
God has chosen and exalted those who were weak like us. That is why we should thank God. Whatever our jobs are, regardless of our wealth, God has chosen us as His people, His army, and raised us. Whatever your situation is, God does not hesitate to call the chosen people as His army. God was pleased that He raised His people and loved them.
God has led the people of Israel. The people of Israel were not adorable, nor did they love God, nor did they honor God. They blasphemed and rebelled against God. But God have led those people in the wilderness for about forty years. The wilderness is like our life. The wilderness is a place where we cannot live without God's help.
It happened a few weeks ago in Korea. The person who was cleaning outside of a high-rise apartment was cut off from the rope, causing death. Someone living in the apartment protested that the music of the cleaner was loud, but after he got angry, he cut off the rope of the cleaning person with a knife. Many people were astonished at this terrible news. The sadder news was that he had a wife and five children. Indeed, a person’s angry cut off seven life lines: Suddenly a wife lost her husband and five children lost their loved father, hearing this kind of news made my heart heavy. I was also saddened by the fact that the world where the survivors live will be a terrifying place. But the news I heard in a few days was amazing. When this unfortunate story was announced in the newspaper, people began to donate to the family voluntarily. At one Internet meeting, they started fund-raising and released the bank account information. For five days, surprisingly, thousands of people in Korea and around the world have participated and raised more than 100 million won (a million dollar). Reading the article, I thought that although there was a great difficulty for some people, there were still a lot of people with warm hearts. I prayed that the lives of the remaining six people would also be able to live with God's help in the wilderness.
God is caring for His people. I hope that we should believe and appreciate that God is responsible for His people’s lives in the wilderness. God has a good plan for our lives. We should give thank God although we may feel that we are in the desert. God cares for His people.
God's helping heart was for an unlovely nation, a displeased nation, and a nation against God. God has endured such a nation. God is the one who exalted the inhabitants as my army, who led His people through the wilderness, and filled them with the necessary things. God did all. We can’t understand God at all. We only know that God did all this for His people like us. We call this the grace of God. We call this the love of God.
If you look at the actions of the Israelites in the wilderness for about forty years, they were not as good as we saw them. I think they should be grateful for God's liquidation of slavery, but the Israelites did not. The habits of slavery remained intact. Even if it was a little uncomfortable, they grumbled against God. They wanted to live in slavery and die in Egypt. They did not want to trust God's plan and served the gods of Egypt, not God, and missed old things in Egypt. However, God had endured them. God's enduring is love. 'Love is longsuffering, love is meek, love is not proud.' The meaning of God’s love is completely different from our love. It has nothing to do with love expressed by emotion.
When we look at the people of Israel, we must also look at ourselves. We must know that God has given us patience. Forty years is the time when one generation ends and the next one comes. Forty years of time refers to our whole life. We must know that God is responsible for our whole life and endured our whole life. But we do not know if we are going to live as slaves of sin. It is we that may worship the gods of the world, not God the creator and who saved us. God is patient with us. In other words, we must know that we cannot live without the grace of God.
What are we, the generous Lord, thinking of us? What are we to say that God is on our side? This is something we cannot know.
God has sent us His only begotten Son, Jesus. And the Father killed his Son on the cross. This is the promise God has given us. "We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers was ‘He has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm: " 'You are my Son; today I have become your Father.' The fact that God raised him from the dead, never to decay, is stated in these words: " 'I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.' "(Acts 13: 32-34).
God has been on our side and has raised those who are weak and those who have low self-esteem like us, and led them into the light of our lives. Please confess that God has given, not that God will give. This is because it is already done. God did everything for us. We should be thankful to God who is responsible for our lives.