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Monday, April 1, 2013

It is finished: 2013 LA/Granada Hills UBF Joint Spring Conference

Friday Evening (March 29) Program:

Special Song by: "His arms are open" by a team (Charles, Peter Lopez, Jr.,  Moses Lim Jr., Anthony Mancini)

Friday Message 1: "You must be born again."
Bible passage: John 3:1-21, Key verse - 5
Messenger: William Larsen

"During the conference we are going to see God's work that is already finished", said William.

Nicodemus finished a lot of things, but he did leave one thing unfinished - that is, getting into His kingdom. He was a Pharisee, a member of Jewish ruling council, which is comparable to modern day Governor, senator, and supreme cout judge combined. His name Nicodemus means "victory over the people" indicating he was a man of success and many victories. He was an embodiment of success, like Donald Trump, Mr. Rogers, and Obama combined. 

No one can see and enter the kingdom of God, unless a man is born again. There are five ways for man to enter the U.S. and become a U.S. citizen, but there is only one way for man to see and enter the Kingdom of God.  

In modern society a lot of people are like walking zombies, for this is what a man who is not born again is like. It is when one is born again that one can see and enter God's kingdom. The spiritual birth is compared to a wind blowing. You can see the evidence of a man born again spiritually. 

Nicodemus was not good at learning. So Jesus rebuked him. His progress report card as a Bible student says, Humility = D+, Acceptance = F, and Belief = F-. 

Jesus said he is the only one who can speak of the spiritual truth on the new birth into His kingdom for he alone is the one who has gone into heaven and came to this world. Jesus then shared him the story of  a bronze snake recorded in the Old Testament Scriptures, wherein we see people who complained and got bitten by snakes receiving healing by simply looking up at the bronze snake Moses made and posted on top of a post. All fallen men are like a man biten by a snake. The process of deadness is already in progress. So he must be born again to reverse this process. And the way is for people to see Jesus the one and only Son Jesus accept Him, and be healed of the snake bite, so he could have eternal life, just as the Israelites who looked up at the bronze snake and received healing. 

Belief then is the key. The problem of sin is so great that it goes way beyond the power of any fallen men. The only way to overcome the power of sin, see and enter the Kingdom of God and have eternal life is to believe in Jesus the Son. 

People do not like Jesus for Jesus brings man's sinfulness into light. But know that Jesus came not to condemn but to save people from the power of sin and death through Him. 

His testimony: William never went to a church since his childhood. When he was 19 he was the first class sinner, smoking pot, engaging in party life style, womanizing, drug, etc. When he hit the rock bottom, one day he opened  the Bible which happened to be next to him. The bible opened to Revelation where he saw the words hell and heaven. He did not want to go to hell. So he read the Bible more often. Then when he was attending a community college he met a Bible teacher. Through Bible studies, the Holy Spirit started working on him. Then one day he felt heavy in his heart. He sat down on the ground and asked God, "God, am I born again?" A voice came "No. You are not." Then in one of the summer Bible conferences, the spirit of God convicted him of his sinful condition. Then he cried so much. He did not want anyone to know him crying, so he wore black sun glasses. His shepherd read for him Romans 10:9-10. After this he prayed together with his shepherd. The moment he said Amen,  a huge burden was lifted from his chest. Then when he opened his eyes, the whole world looked different. The joy was complete. One moment he felt so horrible but the next moment he became totally different. He was born again. 

Testimony: Troy Segale

Strings Duet: "No other name" (James Park Jr. and Hope Lim Jr.)

Life testimony: Sarah Larsen

Next testimony: Robert Fishman 

12 New Comers came to the strage and shared words of thankfulness for the invitation. [Total 13 persons attended the conference for the first time.]

Saturday Message 2: It is finished
Messenger: Daniel Tourn
Key Verse John 19:30

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Some died for political or environmental causes. But Jesus died for the sins of the world, and thereby to save people from their sins.

Jesus was flogged. He got whipped. Roman soldiers tortured Jesus emotionally, slapping him on the face. Jesus was human and experienced pain like any of us. He suffered but did not open his mouth. He quietly and calmly submitted himself to the will of God. But he was pierced for our transgressions. He was punished so we could have peace.

Pilate thought Jesus was at his mercy, but he was wrong, for the one above Pilate has the real power. (John 19:11) So Jesus entrusted him to God.

Jesus was crucified at Golgotha. Crucification is the worst form of punishing. How far will you go for someone you love? Jesus was willing to be crucified.

Pilate wrote a sign: "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews." Many kings are found in their palaces. But this King is on a cross. Soldiers were not concerned about Jesus but his clothes.

Death comes to every one but more important question is 'How and why' does the death come to him or her? Jesus remained silent all the while but he said, "I am thirsty". Then in v. 30 he said, "It is finished." How many have said "It is finished" right before death? Although he was killed by his enemies, he did not die as a loser. Usually the killer is regarded as a winner, but in Jesus' case the one who dies proclaimed, "It is finished". Jesus sacrificed in our place, for Adam and his descendants disobeyed God, for which they had to die as penalty for sin. King Solomon killed many animals to atone for the sins of people of his kingdom.

Daniel did not want to serve this message. But through Jesus' example he learned of the life that sacrifices for others. So he decided to serve the message.

Special Song: LA UBF Choir

Missionary John Kwon announced with one question: Jesus' voice says "It is finished", but our enemies say, "No. It is not." We need to listen to Jesus' voice: our sin problem is finished. Do not be deceived!

Group Bible Study: Of the 15 groups, I belonged to the group 14. Andrew Cuevas was the leader. We covered Isaiah 53. I met new friends: Chris Banda, Christina Le-Mai (Wendy Doan studies the Bible with her). Chris Navaro who came with me to the Conference was also in the group. Peter Lopez jr. was a member.

In the afternoon at 4:30 p.m. we met at the main hall again.

Saturday Message 3: Life in His name
John 20:1-31
Saturday Afternoon Session
Message by: Charles Wilson
Life in His Name

By believing in Jesus who is living there is the promise to live a life that is full. Life in His name refers to His life that is with peace and blessing. 

Jesus appears to Mary. Stone was removed and Jesus was not there in the tomb. Jesus' body was missing.  Mary stood outside still crying.  Mary treasured Jesus but still she was crying. Mary is like Charles' grandpa who used to say,  "Children, I have only four more years to go". The power of death was over him. 

But look! What did Jesus say to her? The Risen Jesus says, "Woman, why are you crying?" Mary thought Jesus was a gardner.  Voice recognition was there. We cannot trust our eyes. But we can hear His voice. While she was sorrowful Jesus saw her all the while.  She wanted to go grab her, for Jesus was not some ghost or vision, but the real person who rose again. So Jesus said, "Do not hold onto him." Jesus sent her back to his disciples. Jesus did not go with her. Jesus let her go and help his disciples saying, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" 

Jesus' message:

- she is not going to lose Jesus any more;
- Jesus calls his disciples 'my brothers';
- remember who you are born to (when you are born again) that is the Father God, Jesus' Father, my Father, Jesus' God, my God, My Father, your Father, my God, your God.

She went to the brothers and said, "I have seen The Lord." She was changed. Jesus' leaving her made her a joyful witness of the Risen Jesus.

Charles' father left him early. When he met him, he asked his father, "Why did you leave us?" He said, "It is your fault." He then hated his father. His mom had four brothers so Charles wanted to attach him to each of them one by one but all of them was so busy. One day while he was writing a Bible testimony deeply realized that he has a Heavenly Father as his own Father. 

Once his mom disowned him three times but he no longer cried. And God brought him to a family. 

Jesus' disciples were very afraid. While they were inside a locked door, Jesus stood among them saying, "Peace with you." Jesus let them take a good look at Jesus' wounds. What they were afraid of was not the Jews but the fear of death. Jesus died and rose again. In Him we can have real peace. How often do you lock yourself up in fear? Look at Jesus here who stands showing his body to the disciples!

Jesus said to his disciples, "As Father has sent me, I am sending you." This was one thing they did not want to do. This going is the opportunity to experience the power of His love. Death is not something we should be afraid of. Being sent out is the way to experience His peace and His power. He also gave the amazing gift, the Holy Spirit. So they had nothing to be afraid of. Jesus told them to receive Him, and commanded them to forgive.  Being sent out is powerful.  Don't you want this life of peace? 

Thomas was missing when Jesus appeared to other disciples. Thomas made it impossible for the disciples to persuade him, for he wanted to see Jesus and put his finger on Jesus' nail marks. Jesus wan't there when Thomas attached these conditions. He must have been more shocked by what Jesus said than seeing Jesus himself. Jesus rebuked saying, Stop doubting and believe. Then Tnomas said, "My Lord and my God." Thomas' real problem was doubt, and Jesus knew his problem and addressed it. 

Blessed are those who have not seen Jesus and yet have believed! Jesus was sending Thomas out!  God sees us and knows us perfectly. 

Testimony:  Juan Perez - Stop doubting and believe.

Special Song: UBF Choir "Because He Lives"

Testimony: Jennifer Vu - Jesus called Matthew saying, "Follow me."

Special Music: String Trio:

Life Testimony: Connie Park - from a sorrowful woman to a mother of the living

Sunday Morning:

Testimony: Greg Cocco

Sunday Message by: Jonathan Pyles

Revelation 21-22
Key Verse 22:12

"Look, I am coming soon!"

[Watch video at]

Testimonies: Dillon Hober; Peter Lopez; Heather Fazelinia

Introduction to Discipleship Program by: William Larsen
SMC Coworkers

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