Do you know what day is today? Today is the second anniversary of my ordination. It has been six years since I started preaching at the Korean church in Memphis. Time is fast, isn’t it?
There have been many things over the past two years since I got the title of Pastor. Today, I would like to share my story with you. From my story, I hope that you will see what God is doing to me. Likewise, I hope that you realize that God is working for you.
At the end of March 2015, I lost my job at a hospital. It was not my will nor intention. Since the laboratory that I worked had been closed, so I automatically had to quit the job. It was hard for me to accept that kind of situation. However, I became very busy to finish my theological study until July 2017. And then I was ordained as a minister at the end of July 2015. Although I lost my old job, now I should say that I got a new job at this church.
However, I still need a new job for living. Many friends and colleagues, church members and mentors encouraged me all the time and some people supported me also. I deeply appreciate their loves, supports, and prayers. I can’t forget them. Thank you so much!
Although I lost my job, I could finish my studies in theology and became an ordained minister. It seemed like there was a timetable in front of me. I believed that it would be God’s plan for me.
I had a title called by a pastor and a title called by a husband and father. These showed my responsibilities. It was harder than I expected to find a job for living in Memphis. With the belief that God would open the way if he wanted, I have sent my resume many places in Memphis, and interviewed some. However, for whatever reasons, I didn’t get one. I believed that God would open another way, but I felt that I became helpless and depressed.
There was a prayer before I was ordinated. I would like to be a powerful man like Paul in the today’s text. It was because of the thought that if I would have the power of God, I might work more powerfully and successfully in ministry. I prayed for the gift of the Holy Spirit of God. I would like to be Paul, who was called by God. He could cure the sitting man who lived in Lystra with a word. But God did not give me such an ability. Now I understood that I was not ready for the gift. Anyways, I didn’t get any job for living so far. I didn’t receive any spiritual gift of God yet. I was even more surprised and frustrated. What I was surprised more was that I found myself as a crippled man at Lystra, but not Paul.
I had the desire to live in helping the hard people while being an ordained minister. But as soon as I became a minister, I was in a position to need help, rather than help others. Just as the prophet Elijah lived on a widow in a famine. No, my appearance was like a crippled man in Lystra. Of course, he didn’t choose to live such a life. His body was uncomfortable when he was born. He could not walk and he could not live with someone’s support. The good news was he had someone who helped him until he met Paul. Through Paul, he came to believe in knowing Jesus Christ and be saved.
What I learned during my two years was that I might be like a crippled man in Lystra. There is nothing I can do with my strength. I realized that the grace of God is necessary for me. If there is no supply of God, I could not live one minute and might die. Is it only applied to me? No. This is true for you.
If God didn’t provide anything, we could not live with our abilities. Because God is gracious, we can eat and live well. Even though God has given us many things for living, we still don’t recognize this sometimes. God loves us even though we didn’t believe in the Lord.
Listen to what Paul said to the people lived in Lystra.
"In the past, God left all nations to go their own way. Yet he has not left himself without testimony. He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy (Acts 14:16,17)”
God did good in my life also. He sent people to help me along the time, and gave me plenty to eat. You are witnesses.
I can’t tell you everything that has happened, but there have been many things in my life over the past two years. My needs have also been filled with many ways and paths. One day, someone called and asked me to teach chemistry. I helped him for 1 year. When I started to teach at Concorde career college, I didn’t expect anything when I applied there. I might submit my resume through the internet, someone called me and asked me to teach students. When I had something to do at church, I didn’t have any class in Concorde. Thus, I could focus on the church’s works. This kind of thing is still going on. I did not make any plan for this. But do you know what I feel? It feels like that I were being trained and placed in action. It feels like moving from easy task to challenging one. Is it happened because I am so fortune? Or is it because God has mercy on me? It is because God has done good to me.
'God has shown kindness by giving me rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides me with plenty of food and fills my heart with joy’
God is good for you, too.
Over the past two years, many of you may have wondered what happened in my life. I was wondered so much too. There were times when I had to make tough decisions rather than everything going smoothly. What plan does God have for me? I'm curious and wondered. But I believe that God has a wonderful plan for each of us.
Over the past two years, I have lived a completely different life as compared previous my life. The people I met in the past were always friendly, caring, and there were many who lived in good health spiritually. But those who met outside the lab where I worked did not. I've taught at a high school, but it was a world entirely different from the world I knew. Did God show me the world I would experience as a pastor? Yes. The Lord showed me a world of rough, rude, deceptive world. It is the world that the Lord has loved. And in fact, I saw my nakedness, but I know that God loves me. He also showed me many others who are living helpless lives like a crippled man in Lystra. Could I help such people? It sounds like cool, but it turns out how hard it is to live.
I think that I resembled a crippled man in Lystra. This may be true for you. We can’t live without someone’s help. Above all, we can’t live without God's help and grace. We also need the grace of the Lord. That is what the Lord tells me. Likewise, I hope that God will tell you.
God who we serve is the one who made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in it. He is the one who takes care of us. He knows our needs. He is also our Father. He is the richest man in the world. Do not worry too much, do not despair.
Just like the man who lived in Lustra, we will have a chance in the time of the Lord. The day will come when we will experience the power of God through the people of God. The day will come when the power of the Lord will overcome the helpless life. The day will come when the Lord will give you a life that is completely different from what you expected. It will be not a gloomy life, but a life full of joy. It is not a life of a misunderstanding of God, but a life of knowing God. You will live a life of gratitude to God, not a resentment of God. I hope that such a wonderful life will be ours.
So that we may speak like Paul.
'God has done good to us. God gave rain, and according to the time, He made the fruit. God has given us plenty to eat and has filled us with joy. "Amen! is.
Finally, I have learned a little bit about what it means to live by faith in the past two years. But my faith was so weak that I could not tell my story fully. Sometimes, it may be hard to explain what the faith was. A crippled man believed that he might be cured. Paul was convict that the man should be cured. So he called out, 'Stand up on your feet.'
What is the faith in us? Can we say it confidently?
John Lyle explained the difference between faith and conviction. Listen carefully.
"If faith is the root, conviction is like a flower. There can be no flowers without roots, but there can be roots without flowers. Believing is like a woman who touched Jesus' garment and conviction is like Stephen who confessed to the people who tried to stone him and said, "Look, heaven is opened and Jesus is standing at the right hand of God." If faith is like a robber on the cross who pleads, 'Jesus, remember me when your kingdom comes,' conviction is like Job who confessed that my God lives while his whole body would be torn down. Faith is like Peter, when he began to fall into the water, he cried out, 'Lord, save me.' Conviction is like Peter who said boldly in front of the council, 'You cannot be saved by others’ names, but only Jesus.” Faith is like a trembling voice that begged 'Help me with my unbelief,' then conviction is' Whoever will choose the one whom God has chosen. Peter boldly called out, "Who is righteous is God, and who will condemn Him?” Faith is like Saul who prayed lonely alone with shock and sadness after he was blind in the Jewish house of Damascus; conviction is like Paul who was an elderly prisoner thinks of his grave and says, 'I have fought every good fight. I have finished my way to run. He confessed that he had kept a faith and a crown would be ready for him.
Do we have the same belief as a crippled man lived in Lystra had? His belief was that God would raise him up. Do you have belief that God will raise us up? Will there be confidence in us like Paul?
Please look forward to the Lord who will begin a new work in our lives. That day will come. That day will come. The day will come when you will be used by the purpose God has called us. We will confess that the Lord is only our strength. We will confess that God is only who will be honored. Like Paul and Barnabas, we should turn all glory to God.
The Lord has told us that the gospel is to be "brought back to the living God who has turned away from vain things. And that God is the one who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in it. "
We also want to have faith that a crippled man had. And furthermore, I hope that we have the same confidence as Paul. "Stand up on your feet" I pray in Jesus’ name that you and I, who can stand upright, with the power of the Lord. Amen!