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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Understanding the Un-understandable

The story of Samson comes with a number of turns which are hard to understand.

In the first place, when Manoa said to the Lord, "What is your name?", the Lord said, "Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding." (Judges 13:18)

Further, the Lord forbade the Israelites to intermarry with the "uncircumcised". Yet, the Scripture says that Samson 'fell in love' with Delilah, the Philistine woman, and asked his parents to get her for him as his wife. Yet his parents objected to the idea saying, "Isn't there an acceptable woman among  your relatives or among all of our people? Must you go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife?" What they said was to the code. Yet, the Scripture says, [His parents did not know that] "This was from the Lord."

The meaning of Deliliah also has a lot of twists: one source says, "Delilah means: 1. a woman who betrayed Samson to the Philistines; 2. A seductive and wily temptress." Another source says it means "the uprooted, the weakened, or the impoverished" [based on the root Hebrew word 'Dar' meaning "weak or poor"]. Still another source says "Amorous or delicate".

Why did God allow (or even arrange) the marriage between Samson and the Uncircumcised (in modern term the unbelieving or simply a woman who is not in the relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ)?

The book of Judges itself gives out the answer: "[The Lord] was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines, for at that time they were ruling over Israel." 14:4

This answer is also puzzling for in the first place it was the Lord who turned Israel to the Philistines for 40 years because again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord. 14:1

It appears that the Lord found Manoa and his wife worthy of receiving a special 'blessing' that is receiving into the family one of the Judges to save Israel from the oppressive people. Manoa was a man of prayer. When he prayed the Lord answered the prayer and sent an angel again! He along with his wife believed in the Lord, so they advised their son to marry a believing woman. Yet, along with the seeming 'blessing' came with the pain of seeing the two eyes of their only son getting poked out and die with the uncircumcised. Apparently the name "Manoa" means "a place of rest and peace", but due to Samson's arrival, their life became full of thrill and suspense, turning their home from the place of Manoa to that of "Mania".

Through all these turns and twists what message does the Lord want to convey? Ultimately what is the will of the Lord whose name is "incomprehensible" (or "too wonderful to understand")? What is the one message we can grasp out of all these?

I think the answer can still be found in the expression "for at that time [the Philistines] were ruling over Israel."

By definition Israel denotes the one who struggles with men and God and have come out victorious. According to the Genesis account, Israel, Jacob, and Esau are three different categories of people: Esau being a man living purely on a fleshly (or materialistic) dimension, Jacob on a human level, Israel on a spiritual (Lord's dimension). Man consists of three components: what is from below (dust), what is from above (breath of God) and what came out of the two origins (below and above). So man can be compared to a three story house: first story, second story and third story. First story touches the ground. So let say it has earthly dimension. The third floor is close to sky (or heaven). So let say it has a godly dimension. The second story is in between the two, the so to speak "human" dimension. The man living in the first story is likened to Esau, the man on the second story is Jacob, and the man on the third story Israel.

"[F]or at that time the Philistines were ruling over Israel." What was wrong with the Philistines ruling over Israel? How is it different than the Israelites doing 'evil' in the eyes of the Lord, that the Israel be ruled by the Philistines? Doing evil is the cause, getting ruled by the Philistines is the effect. As the Philistines ruled Israel, Israel 'suffered' a lot. The life was rendered unbearable. What then does it mean 'they did evil' in the eyes of the Lord? What does doing evil 'in the eyes of the Lord' mean? In the first place what is evil? To this question, you may quickly point me to the forbidden fruit growing on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for it was when Adam and Eve ate the fruit that the good and evil came to rage through out life of the people on the planet earth.

The Scripture says all wrongdoing is sin. Adam and Eve sinned. What did they do wrong? What is the nature of wrong? The answer is "they disobeyed" the Lord. What is so wrong about 'disobeying' the Lord? Again the answer is obvious: you keep yourself out of the "rule" of the Lord. Either the Lord rules or man (or something or someone else) rules.

So the key to understand the Un-understandable rests on the "rule". Who rules? That which drives Esau (who sold the birthright for one bowl of lentil soup)? That which runs Jacob who always makes himself busy to get something from other's pockets into his own? That which leads Israel to be Israel, a man of God?

What difference or differences does it make for man to let the Lord rule? Why does the Lord want his children to be 'ruled' by Him?

I think the answer is found in the meaning of the name, "It is beyond understanding" (or simply "too wonderful to fully understand"). By definition God denotes the one who is infinitely great - his love, power, wisdom, all infinitely wonderful. So who is at the top ruling? If anyone or anything other than the Lord ruling your life, you are bound to go crazy. What is limited cannot rule that which is created to go without a limit. God created man in his image, so man is created to thrive without a limit. For this very purpose, the Lord God sent even His one and only son Jesus.

I think there is one person who understood the will of the Lord God whose name is rightly the "Supreme Incomprehensible", that is, King Solomon, for he says, "Under three things the three things tremble." And the first item is "A servant who becomes king." Proverbs 30:22

So do not let anyone or anything other than the Lord Jesus Christ rule over you. And do not forget that Jesus is not only our Savior and Lord but also our King, that is, the King of kings the Lord of lords. Otherwise, you will have to kick yourself all the time. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Why does your face look so sad? (Nehemiah 2:2)

Thankgiving is two days away.

The thoughts of the Thanksgiving Day coming reminded me of some numbers I came accross a while ago.

The numbers go to the question of "How happy are you, Americans (U.S.)?"
  •  1/3 of the world population live (or tries to live) on $1 per day.
  • The GDP of North Korea is $1,200 per year.
  •  Of the 178 nations on the list, the Happiness Index of U.S. ranks No. 114 although the GDP of the U.S. ranks no. 1. Click here for Happiness  Planet Index.
  • As far as HI is concerned, Costa Rica ranks No. 1, Dominica Republic No. 2, Jamaica No. 3, Guatemala No. 4, and Vietnam No. 5. Zimbabwe is at the bottom ranking No. 178.
  •  HI of a nation is NOT co-relational with GDP.
  •   The higher the GDP the more items you can afford. Average U.S. citizens have 719 items on the "wish list" [like Ipad, car, Nike shoes, etc.], whereas people of the nations whose HI rank from Ranking No. 1-30 maintain on average 67 items on the "Wish List".

These numbers indeed indicate that the sense of happiness is NOT co-relational with "MONEY".

What the king Artaxerxes said to Nehemiah supports the same conclusion. Obviously Nehemiah was well to do at least financially. His job seemed secure. Yet why was he sad? The heathen King asked and answered the question, "Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of your heart." 2:2 What was going on with Nehemiah? He himself answered to his fellow citizens: "You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace." 2:17 [Read Neh 1:1-4 for the background.]

Jerusalem refers to the place where the Lord chooses to establish his presence, namely at the innermost sanctum of your heart. (1King 8:1; 2King 23:27; 24:20; Isaiah 3:8; Jeremiah 52:3; Luke 17:21; John 14:20) So where is your God [whom Nehemiah called "The God of heaven, great and awesome God?"]?

And what is the condition of the walls of your own Jerusalem? Are the gates intact, or broken down, burned with fire?

The good news is that just as Nehemiah stood up to get the Jerusalem rebuilt, so also you can stand up to get it rebuilt. And the work begins with each person responding to the words of our Lord Jesus saying, "The kingdom of God is near! Repent and believe the good news!" [Note: Jesus is the good news, the one who came to save sinners from their sins; he  is the one  who gives a believer a new birth into His kingdom.]

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

WCRDC - slideshow

WCDRC Day 2 (Discussion, Prayer)

From 9-11 Tuesday we had a ‘discussion’ session. Mark Moran led the meeting. 

Mark Vucekovich said the next U.S. Canada staff meeting is to be Feb. 21-23 at the Indiana Pennsylvania, rooms at the two hotels with two queen-size beds with four people sharing were reserved. 

Then June 2014 there will be a staff conference probably in Chicago.

Regional conferences are encouraged to go between Christmas time and New Year, around the time of Well. Some families may not want to do that for they might want to spend time with families. 

The point of regional conference is to build up net-working, a system for mutual help, in-depth Bible studies, etc.  

Proposed dates for the regional west coast staff meeting: Jan 3-4 (Friday and Saturday) 2014 is recommended as next regional staff meeting time (tentative). 

Proposed location: John Baik of El Camino volunteered to host the next meeting. 

Proposed program: What to do: deep Bible studies are recommended especially the books of the Bible which we have not covered as fully as we ought to. Mark Vucekovich said one staff can be assigned to give an introduction of the book to cover. John Baik said one staff can cover one book in-depth by coming up with study materials like study questions and notes, and even messages. We also need to cover not just Bible studies but also have the opportunity to learn about Christian theology, practices of other ministries, Christian history, examples of great men of faith, etc. and so forth, so that the staff may have something to get away with. 

  • Coworkers shared their needs and feedbacks - Andrew Hwang - fire (not intellectual or informational) (more spiritual like repentance) (revival now) Stanford 7; Charles Wilson - like this conference program, you cannot schedule repentance, do the daily bread; Abraham Jung - likes the topic revival which is refreshing, does not like another bible conference, one message is enough, new topic connected with the Bible is good, ministry started this March, so this week he has three Bible students attending the Sunday worship; Stephen Kim - program was beneficial, regarding the next meeting, he has the desire to learn the whole Bible, so he prefer to study books he is not familiar with, at Colorado Springs UBF has one family, yet there is a disagreement like children not wanting students at home, with Stephen wanting to invite students at the worship, so there is the need for family members to pray, since last year the Lord is sending students so they have seven Bible students; Joseph - Holy Spirit works, there are four families here in Denver, they pray for 15 one to one Bible studies, Joseph family prays for a green card, John Lee has E-2 visa, Dr. Abraham works for a post-doc position; Mark Vucekovich - loves the program, time of fellowship was good for mutual understanding and build up, liked Isaac Kim’s mission report, wants to support Dr. Abraham Kim,  9 undergraduates in discipleship training, and there are seniors needing prayer supports in terms of the direction after graduation, there are more works that need to be done, so he needs support; Isaac Kim - program as the first time attempt is good, so we follow the format as it is for a while and as we go on, pray to further improve, and there is the need for more fellowship via more visits and meetings (for we are disconnected); John Kwon - he agrees with Abraham Jung in terms of the program, it is needed for us to cover books of the Bible, fellowship time without pressure was good, agrees with Charles Wilson in terms of the need to emphasize on the importance of daily bread; Mark Moran - he felt burden to go to the conference, yet   at this local conference he felt good for he had time for personal fellowships, he was inspired by the Nehemiah study, he is in need of deep Bible study perhaps in a new way, he is in need of repentance of tendency for self-reliance, he has prayer topic that is building a student friendly environment by improving worship service via measures like keeping the message shorter; Gideon Klijian - he wants fire, we need to be connected, they started group bible studies on campus, on CSUN campus there are a lot of false teachers like Mother God cult members; John Baik - he was impressed by the Pyongyang Revival report, he feels his presentation on Nehemiah could have been better, he prays for the Genesis study to raise up new batch of disciples, his ministry will study 2 Timothy and then Luke gospel in four weeks for Christmas season, first Samuel the New Year; Jeremiah Jung - he appreciate coworkers coming, through the conference he learned from Pyongyang Revival, so he could think about his personal repentance topics, all programs were appropriate, he has two main prayer topics that is 15 weekly one to one, and each person needs to grow as a Bible teacher for 4 missionaries are taking turns to serve the message. 
  • One Announcement Topic: New Website first public part (for outsiders and second for insiders, so outsiders and insiders would know UBF chapter and location in each place) and private part (so each chapter may post news etc.).

Isaac H. Kim shared one word, Luke 10:1-2 and gave announcement topics, thanks topics and prayer topics:

  • Thank God for Denver coworkers serving us in Denver style
  • Pray to fix the Program for the next meeting so we could incorporate plans involving Principle and Practice (John B vs. Mark Moran getting feedback from folks)
  • Pray for chapter directors who could not attend (Daniel Jung of San Diego, Paul Chin, Abraham Song and Ben Westerhoff of Seattle, Dr. David Greenfield Kim of San Jose,  Sunny and Paul Koh at Stanislas, someone to pioneer Fort Collins at Colorado, David Kim of Arizona Tempe, Dr. Joe and Theresa Ahn and Jason Schooler of Portland, Daniel Kwon and Dr. John Kim of Seattle, Joshua Hong of Victoria Island; etc.)
  • Shepherd Charles recording the discussion, so is to come up with the minutes of meeting and provide Mark Moran with them for his circulation. 
  • West Coast Pioneering Work (build a vessel) Luke 10:2 (send out harvest workers)  

WCDRC Day 1 (Evening Program Continued) - How to do One to One by Missionary Andrew Hwang

Following Pastor Mark's lecture on the biblical preaching, Missionary Andrew Hwang of Stanford University gave us a special lecture on how to serve the flock through one to one ministry. He had a lot to share, but due to time constraint he was able to share only a few key tips. I personally enjoyed and learned a lot from his presentation. Here is a brief summary.

How to do one to one ministry
  • Why one to one ministry? When one person cannot be and is not changed, you have done nothing. But when one person is changed, the Lord can change many through that one person. 
  • Jesus’ One to One Bile study with Nicodemus (Jesus understood his basic need, that is, his agony of not knowing the kingdom of God, so Jesus said, “you must be born again.)
  • Jesus’ One to One Bible study with a Samaritan Woman. Jesus helps each person according to their needs that is in case of the woman, her thirstiness, so he asked her, “Would you give me a drink?” 
  • Jesus’ One to One ministry with vision. Jesus helped Simon Peter by giving him the vision saying, "From now on you will be a fisher of man." His shepherd once said to him, “Missionary Andrew, you will be a great missionary.” At that time he was a young student. Yet since his shepherd then a professor had a vision for  him, he retained the vision and indeed became a missionary. 
  • Jesus’ One to One ministry with love (Jesus helping Simon Peter with love rather than with a business mind as in John 21)
  • Jesus’ One to One ministry with friendship (students are lonely, so we need to offer friendship)
  • Andrew Hwang (left) and John Baik
  • Jesus’ One to One ministry with communication: in communicating we need to be "Quick to listen, Slow to speak"(James 1:9 - quick to listen slow to speak, slow to become angry)

He prays to raise seven global leaders out of Stanford students. 

Help students to be active participants. He used to study the Bible with Mother Barry. One day he asked Mother Barry, “How did Abraham come to have faith?” At that time he  already had an answer. Then Mother Barry said, “I don’t know. What do you think?”  

WCDRC Day 1 (Afternoon Program Continued) - God's work in Africa (UBF)

Following Shepherd Charles' report on Christ for the world, Missionary Isaac H. Kim made a power point presentation on God's work in Africa (UBF). 

WCDRC Day 1 (Evening Program continued) Biblical Preaching by Pastor Mark Vucekovich

After the dinner fellowship, Pastor Mark Vucekovich made a special lecture on the Biblical Preaching.

His lecture is based on the book "Biblical Preaching" by Hadden W. Robinson. I secured his permission to get published on my blog his power point.

He highly recommends UBF coworkers to read this book for message preparations.

Biblical preaching (presented by Pastor Mark Vucekovich) 

Monday, November 12, 2012

A book digest on Nehemiah

[The late evening program included a special book workshop/presentation by Missionary John Baik of El Camino. He also gave the staff member a special gift - a book he got published on Nehemiah.]


After the 50th year anniversary celebration of UBF ministry a while ago in Seoul Korea, missionaries from Kyung-sung UBF met together and studied the Book of Nehemiah. At that time Missionary John Baik led English Bible study on Nehemiah in six lessons. He came back to LA, and served sunday messages on Nehemiah in six lessons, for he realized that this book is good for disciple-making.

Key Point:

Key Verse is 2:17. At that time the Jerusalem temple was built, but walls remained in ruins, so God's people remained in disgrace.

The Jerusalem walls serve to keep the people of God from secular influence. Fighting against the enemies' interference and working to build God's walls serve their own good as well as the good of their children and children's children. And there are challenges inside and challenges outside.   The book teaches us how to resolve internal conflicts. Examples include rich shepherds like medical doctors in Kyung-sung UBF who make a lot of money having been challenged to use their rich material resources to serving God, just as Nehemiah rebuked the rich not to charge their borrowers usury, but rather cancel principle for the poor.

In 52 days despite challenges the walls were completed, and the construction period was hottest time in Israel. It was thanks to the zealous leadership of Nehemiah. We need to work hard following the example to build the kingdom of God. These days the situation is difficult. But when we really mean we can go and find sheep. Changing the spiritual condition of college campus may take 52 days or 70 years depending on our zeal.

Four days after they completed the walls, they studied the word of God intensively from daybreak to noon about seven hours under the guidance of Ezra. Building itself is not the substance; it is the word of God that makes man to have the sense of fulfillment, for the real word of God brings about the real revival. Through studying the Bible they wept because of their sins. Then they kept the Feast of Tabernacle, still studying the word of God intensively. They then gathered again, weeping and crying becoming those who are poor in spirit. The message is that when we seek God earnestly instead of becoming proud we become poor in spirit and receive God's blessings. Thereafter they entered into a binding agreement: not to intermarry, keeping purity; keep Sabbath holy (worship); not neglect the house of God establishing a tax law on tithing to support the Levites, which in turn taught all the Bible students how to take responsibilities for the house of God through tithing as well as bringing first-fruits.

Ten years after Nehemiah came back and saw one of the top leaders Tobiah staying in the store room.  But Nehemiah kicked all of Tobiah's stuff out of the store room.  This shows us the constant need for reformation.

Conclusion: this book is useful for it deals with practical issues in the real Christian life.

Questions and Answers session followed. Andrew Hwang asked, "Why and how are we to study the Old Testament Scriptures?" - John answered, "We adopt historical approach." Mark Vucekovich recommended a book called "How to read the bible for all its worth" by Gordan Fee. Also consider the saying, "Scripture interprets Scripture."

It was already close to midnight.

Pastor Mark Moran made an announcement by reciting 2Ti 2:15. He said, "Let us pray that each would become a great Bible preacher who correctly handles the word of truth, not wasting the time of people coming to the messages, so they would be moved to repent of their sins.  Let us pray to learn from Jesus how to serve one to one ministry. May God bless Missionary Andrew Hwang' prayer topic for Stanford UBF, that is, to raise 7 global Christian leaders beginning with Dr. Christine Leo. Essence of discipleship is keeping the Wall of God, so the disciples would be sanctified and built up. Pray for personal discernment, courage of God like Nehemiah."

We all stood up sang Hymn 11 v. 2 and finished the meeting with two by two prayer.

WCDRC Day 1 (Part III) - Dinner Fellowship

Monday Lunch Menu
Denver coworkers served the staff delicious meals. I have never been served with Korean Bibimbap with so many different toppings (look at the lunch menu - vegetables sauce and meat) all cooked to perfection

So we said, "Wow, Denver Style [not Kangnam style] is truly special!"
The Dinner Menu Denver Coworkers prepared 
Eating Fellowshiip
Talking Fellowship

Jeremiah Jung is not just a computer programmer but also a good cook!

WCDRC Day 1 Afternoon Program Part II

Following the Pyongyang Revival, Shepherd Charles Wilson made a special report entitled 'Christ for all nations" Reinhard Bonnke's CfaN

Christ for All Nations

What is it?

Evangelical, preaching ministry.
Focuses on preaching to large crowds to help as many people as
possible hear the gospel and believe.

Follow up consists of incorporating people into local churches.

Mission Field:
Mainly, Africa. Sometimes they visit oMission Field:
Mainly, Africa. Sometimes they visit other third world countries.

What is it not?
A discipleship ministry.
Mark 16:15-18

What is it not?
A discipleship ministry.
Evangelism: "It is the fiery chariot of the Holy Spirit, a burning
messenger with a burning message on wheels of fire." --Reinhard Bonnke

According to Bonnke, his evangelism has two main points:

1. A simple gospel message to save people. He calls it, "the
concentrated gospel, the ABC's, that only Jesus is the Savior."
2. Accompanied by the demonstration of the Spirit's power. First, in
speaking tongues, and then in healing. He expects this to be
demonstrated on those who being saved through the message as well.

History of the ministry:
Bonnke and his wife and young son went to Lesotho (a small kingdom
near South Africa) as missionaries in 1969. They say that they served
as missionaries in the "traditional way," but it was burning on his
heart to start an evangelical ministry. They began Christ for All
Nations in 1974, in Botswana. First, they started a Bible class. Only
5 people came and they were discouraged. His team in Africa then had
the idea to start a crusade, preaching in a stadium for several nights
and then going on to another city. 100 people came on the first night.
They were at first disappointed because they rented out a stadium and
only 100 people came. But as he started preaching, people started to
stand up and shout that they were being healed. When news of this
healing spread, many more people started to come to the meetings, and
by God through the sixth night thousands of people had come, filling
the stadium.

They continued to do crusades like this to large crowds, which
involved preaching and healing. Crusades lasted 6 days. They are done
roughly 10 times a year. Now the ministry preaches to hundreds of
thousands of people each night of a crusade. Crusades are also held
once a year in Asian countries, such as Malaysia, the Philippines, and

Those that accept Jesus and believe are encouraged to submit a
"decision" card, stating their decision to believe in Jesus as their
Savior. And from that card, there is follow up to incorporate them
into local churches. Tens of millions have turned in decision cards.
Bonnke's vision is 100 million counted by the end of this decade.

Bonnke has been doing this kind of crusade ministry for more than 40
years. Recently, he established a successor, Daniel Kolenda, an
American from Florida. They also produce literature, television shows,
and conferences in first world countries to equip evangelists to
preach and go out to third world countries.

History of Reinhard Bonnke

In 1922, his grandfather was sick and close to death. A lost
missionary from Assemblies of God from the US, Louis Graf, met with
his grandfather and healed him. The missionary didn't say he was lost,
he met the village and said, "Is anyone sick and close to death here?"
And was led to his grandfather. After healing, Louis Graf said that he
had more to do and laid his hands on them and the grandfather and
grandmother began to speak in tongues.

Father was a born again Christian in the German army. Was sick and
wanted to get out as Hitler was rising in power. He prayed that he
wanted to offer his life to Jesus to preach the gospel and not fight
earthly wars anymore. Then Jesus appeared in his room and said that he
was pleased with his decision.

How Reinhard came to believe in Jesus. When he was nine years old in
Germany, he started to steal money from his mother's purse to buy
candies. She caught him one day and told him that he was a thief, and
that the Bible says that thieves go to hell. But Jesus came to save
sinners like you. That day he gave his life to Jesus and he never
stole again. At ten years old, God gave him the direction to be a
missionary to Africa.

Good points to consider:

1. Passionate and zealous preaching.
2. Simple gospel message, "the concentrated gospel, the ABC's, only
Jesus is the Savior."
3. Encouraging a response via the decision cards. Expectations:
decision cards -- there is an expectation of the audience to get
hooked up with a church and get discipled.
discipleship group signups.
4. Goal to save souls. The word "harvest" is used a lot. He believed
Jesus' word that the fields are ripe for harvest (John 4:35).
5. Rely on the power of God through the Holy Spirit on the preacher,
and looking to see the work of the Holy Spirit in the audience.
6. Training of local people: staff -- mostly, it has been Bonnke and a
small team. Volunteers are invited, but they do not get a free ride.
Everything is must be paid for by the volunteer. Africans (locals) are
trained to prepare the crusades. Any volunteers from outside of Africa
are warned that there will not be much work for them to do because the
locals are trained to prepare everything.

West Coast Directors Regional Conference (WCDRC) Day 1 (Part I)

Denver UBF Coworkers Doing Special Song
(From left - Rebekah Choi, Maria Jung, Lydia Lee, Joseph Choi,
Dr. Abraham Park, John Lee, Jeremiah Jung)

West Coast Regional Directors Conference

Attendees (20): 

Denver Coworkers (Jeremiah and Maria Jung; John and Lydia Lee
Dr. Abraham and Esther Park; Joseph and Rebekah Choi) 
Stephen Kim from Colorado Springs
Mark Moran from UC Berkeley
Andrew Hwang from Stanford
Andrew Kim from Sacramento
John Baek from El Camino
Gideon Klijian from Granada Hills
Abraham Jeong from Cerritos
Isaac H. Kim, John Kwon, and Charles Wilson from Downey
Mark Vucekovich from Lincoln Park

When: Nov. 12 (Monday) - 13, 2013

Location: Denver UBF Bible Center (1640 East Jewell St. Denver, Co 80210)

Program:  Monday 1-2 p.m. Lunch; 2-6 p.m. Special reports on: 1) Pyung Yang Revival;  2) Present Day Revival on Reinhard Bonnke’s CfaN; and 3) African Mission Report; 6-8 p.m.; Dinner; 8-11 pm. special presentations consisting of: 1) message preparation and delivery by Pastor Mark Vucekovich; 2) How to do one to one by Andrew Hwang; and 3) The book of Nehemiah by John Baik

Tuesday 8-9 a.m. breakfast; 9-11 Campus visit and sports fellowship; 11-1 Joint prayer

Execution of the program:

Pyongyang Great Revival
by Jeremiah Chung

Matthew 3:1-2 “In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

Thank God for giving us a chance to remember Pyongyang great revival in year 1907!  The work of God in Pyongyang in 1907 winter had formed the foundation of Christianity in Korea and defined the characteristics of Christianity in Korea.  By remembering how God worked in Pyongyang revival, we can think about how we can serve God's great work in our generation.  I pray that we may get spiritual wisdom to serve the work of God through thinking about Pyongyang revival.

When the revival was about to begin in Pyongyang, Korea was going through the one of the most difficult times in her history.  There had been conflicts between powerful countries.  In February 9, 1904, the Japanese Russian War, the war between Russia and Japan, broke out at Jemulpo, Inchon and lasted until 1905.  Korea became a battle field of the other countries.  Japan defeated Russia and took over Korea based on the treaty of Katsura-Taft, the confirmation of USA about Japan's takeover Korea.  The king Kojong was dethroned.   In five thousand years' history, Korea never lost the country before.  All people were in deep sorrow of the loss of their country.  Some political leaders took their lives because they could not endure the shame and pain.  Even some believers gave up their lives.  Outwardly it was a very difficult time for Korean people, but God was preparing them for the spiritual blessing through the historical revival.  God made them humble to seek God's help.  Losing all the hope, people began to find hope in Christianity.

The first sign of the revival occurred in Wonsan in 1903.  Missionary R. A. Hardie was working in Wonsan.  Hardie was the graduate of Toronto medical school.  He was deeply felt the failure of his ministry in Wonsan.  The Holy Spirit rebuked him.  At the prayer meeting in August 24, 1903, Hardie confessed that the failure of his ministry is because of his pride over Korean people and his self-confidence to depend on his ability over the power of God.  After confessing in public, Hardie experienced peace from God and his spirit was renewed.  Following Sunday, Korean language teacher for missionary Jin, Chonsoo and a prominent young boy rose up and confessed their hidden sins.  It was the work of the Holy Spirit.  All people in the church experienced of the presence of the Holy Spirit while people confessed their sins.  Then the missionaries in Wonsan began to pray that the whole Wonsan church may experience of the work of the Holy Spirit and opened Sakyunghwe, a Bible conference.  Through the conference people studied the Bible and encouraged people to confess their sins.  People were lined up to confess their sins.  The meeting lasted until mid-night.  People were crying for their sins and at the same time they experienced the grace of forgiveness.  The movement of confession of sin renewed the Wonsan church and spread to other regions.  Wonsan great revival occurred 4 years before Pyongyang revival and the scale of the movement was not yet national wide.  But the impact of Wonsan revival was significant in defining the characteristics of Christianity.  Before Hardie’s confession, Korean believers did not understand the depth of sin and the grace of forgiveness.  They did not experience of the work of the Holy Spirit and rebirth.  Korean believers began experiencing the grace of forgiveness and the power of the gospel by confessing their sins publicly.

Following Wonsan revival, many churches experienced the similar movement in Kaesung, Seoul, and Mokpo.  While the movement was growing, the political state of Korea was getting weaker.  Many people among Korean political leaders began to think that only hope for Korea is Christianity.  All the missionaries were praying earnestly for Korea and people.  The Methodist missionaries and the Presbyterian missionaries all together prayed for the experience of the Holy Spirit and prepared for the Bible training class (Sakyunghwe).  In JangDaeHyun Church, there was the winter Bible training class for men January 2-15, 1907.  

Kil, Sunjoo led the evening meeting and he could feel that people are full of sorrow and pain because of their sins that they needed to confess.  In the meeting, people felt the presence of the Holy Spirit and six people began crying for their sins and asking for forgiveness.  

Blair describes the scene on the first day of the meeting: “After a short sermon…man after man would rise, confess his sin, break down and weep, and then throw himself on the floor and beat the floor with his fists in perfect agony of conviction. …Sometimes, after a confession, the whole audience would break out into audible prayer, and the effect of that audience of hundreds of men praying together in audible prayer was something indescribable – not confusion, but a vast harmony of sound and spirit, a mingling together of souls moved by an irresistible impulse of prayer. The prayer sounded to me like the falling of many waters, an ocean of prayer beating against God’s throne. It was not many, but one, born of One Spirit, lifted to one Father above.”

“Then began a meeting the like of which I had never seen before, nor wish to see again unless in God’s sight it is absolutely necessary. Every sin a human being can commit was publicly confessed that night. Pale and trembling with emotion, in agony of mind and body… looking up to heaven, to Jesus whom they had betrayed, they smote themselves and cried out with bitter wailing: “Lord, Lord, cast us not away forever!” Everything else was forgotten, nothing else mattered. The scorn of men, the penalty of the law, even death itself seemed of small consequences if only God forgave. We have our theories of desirability or undesirability of public confession of sin. I have had mine; but I know now that when the Spirit of God falls upon guilty souls, there will be confession, and no power on earth can stop it.”

After this initial experience in the city, the movement of repentance spread among women, boys and girls.  The next week after the work of the Holy Spirit, the classes in school could not proceed because the students asked for the chance to confess their sins.   The normal class was cancelled and had prayer meetings and students experienced the work of God.  Throughout the whole city of Pyongyang the movement of confession of sins spread and cleaned the church and the whole city.  During annual Bible class, many believers experienced of the power of gospel through forgiveness.  The Bible class was a very effective way of educating the believers and bringing new people to believe.  Once people believed, they gave up serving their ancestors and began serving the LORD.  They kept the Sabbath and gave offering for the work of God and building the church building sacrificially.  People stopped drinking and smoking.  People returned what they stolen to the owner.  Some people repented their adultery and gave up their concubine and devoted to their wives.  The first seminary by the support of the both Methodist and Presbyterian was built and had the first graduates in Pyongyang. 

As a result of the revival, Pyongyang was transformed.  Before Pyongyang was known as the city of gisaeng, officially sanctioned Korean female entertainers or prostitutes, but through the revival the city became Jerusalem of East. The revival spread to Seoul, Kaesong and Mokpo.  The movement of saving one million souls was followed in 1910.  JangDaeHyun church could send a missionary to Jeju and China.

We need to think about the impact of the Pyongyang revival during two weeks in 1907 winter Bible class.  First, it was clearly the work of the Holy Spirit.  There is a criticism about Pyongyang revival saying that it was too emotional and it was the result of pursuing catharsis because of the pain caused by loss of their country.  We cannot deny that the political crisis prepared Korean people to become humble and hunger for truth spiritually.  But the personal confession of sin can be done only by the power of the Holy Spirit.  The revival was God's one-sided blessing for Korea.  The missionaries in Korea deeply loved Korean people and cared for the country.  They were from the different denominations, but they had one idea that they needed to build a united church in Korea.  They worked together regardless of their differences for Korea.  Through their love and prayer, God blessed Korea to repent their sins and accept salvation. Some said that it was maybe the greatest success story of the Protestant missionary movement in East Asia.  
Second, the revival increased the moral and ethical standard among Korean people.  In a difficult time, people became dishonest to survive.  But through experiencing the work of the Holy Spirit, people repented their sins and began to live a new life following the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit purified the Korean church and the society together. 
Third, the revival defines the characteristics of Korean church to become independent and self-supporting.  The missionaries in Korea adopted the principle of Nevius the early ministry.  

Here is the outline of the principle.
  1. Christians should continue to live in their neighborhoods and pursue their occupations, being self-supporting and witnessing to their co-workers and neighbors.
  2. Missions should only develop programs and institutions that the national church desired and could support.
  3. The national churches should call out and support their own pastors.
  4. Churches should be built in the native style with money and materials given by the church members.
  5. Intensive biblical and doctrinal instruction should be provided for church leaders every year.

Sakyunghwe was not used just for the revival, but also it was a great chance for the Korean believers to grow and become leaders.  As a result, Korea became a missionary sending country.

Through following the work of the Holy Spirit in Pyongyang revival, I was reminded of the importance of repenting of sins.  The work of the Holy Spirit is to make people repent their sins.  When John appeared to the public, he preached this. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”  It is because the repentance of sin is the key to the kingdom of heaven.  It is easy to think that we need to do something to attract people to our ministry.  But our message should be the same.  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”  At the message of John the Baptist, many people came to him and received the baptism from him.  Tax collectors repented gathering more money than they ought to.  Soldiers repented receiving bribes.  This way the kingdom of heaven came down.  Like the work at the time of Jesus, Pyongyang revival was the repentance of sins.  Through the repentance of sins, the LORD purified the church of Korea and the kingdom of heaven was established in people's heart.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The key to winning the battle all the time (and not lose even once) :-)

"And the angel of the Lord disappeared." Judges 6:21

In the day of Gideon the Israelites were defeated most of (if not all) the time. On many occasions the Lord appeared to them and helped them out to win the battle (every once in a while).

One of the great victories the Israelite experienced was that of Gideon defeating the Midianites.

In Judges 6 we see the Lord conversing with Gideon. At first Gideon was not convinced. But one event struck open Gideon's eyes, that he exclaimed "Ah, Sovereign Lord!" Then Gideon was no longer the same.

What was the event? The fire that flared from the rock? The Lord gobbling up the food on the dish (bread with meat and soup like Korean dish called "yookyejang") in the nick of moment? I think it was none other than the Lord appearing and then 'disappearing'.

The Lord belongs to the dimension which is not visible to physical eyes. We live in the physical world (of time and space) in a physical body. Naturally we are drawn,  attached to,  swayed and dictated by what is made visible to our physical eyes. Then we fall prey to the enemies coming to make us lose.

But what is visible did not come from what we can see with our physical eyes, so that what is physically visible the product of what is unseen. For this reason we are told not to love anything in this world. 1Jo 2:15. Read Genesis 3:6 to see who lost the battle first and why.

So the Apostle Paul says, "We live by faith not by sight." If you live (or go) by sight (i.e., what is seen) you always lose. If you go by faith that is to be certain of what you do not see, you are beyond the grip of  your enemies, just as said: "Faith is the victory." So see the Lord enjoying the Yookgyejang (picture), live by faith in Him, and win the victory all the time, and never lose, not even once..

7 Keys to remaining strong "all the time" :-)

The book of Judges can be seen as the level of joy of life among the Israelite of the day of Judges increasing or decreasing, all depending upon the level of the collective strength of the Israelite of their day increasing or decreasing.

The same is applicable to each individual.  So for a joyous life it is critical for one to keep the level of one's strength full tank.  
Question: How? Research on the life of 3 persons, Joshua, Gideon and Samson, yields 7 keys.

1. Love the Lord. -- The Scripture says those who love the Lord will be like the sun when it rises in its strength. Judges 5:31 

2. Capitalize on what you have.
Even a man who thought himself to be one of the weakest was able to go strong, just as it is written: "The LORD turned to him (Gideon) and said, "Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian's hand. Am I not sending you?" Judges 6:14

3. Watch out for human pride.
Human pride sets man against the Lord, causing man to go downhill. For this reason the Lord asked Gideon to reduce the number of his army so Israel would not boast against the Lord saying, "We/I did it." Judges 7:2 The bottom line is man CANNOT save himself.

4. Watch out for human bravery .
The Midianites (offspring of the marriage between Abraham and Keturah) were brave. They had sort of the Samurai's hari-kari spirit. Think about what the two kings (Zebah and Zalmunna) facing execution said to Gideon in Judges 8:21. ["As is the man, so is his strength" means "Go ahead, kill us, for it is man's job." - God's word translation - ] And Gideon took their heads.

5. Faithful prayer (maintenance)
In a thirsty land when he grew exhausted, Samson prayed and the Lord provided him with water, so he could regain the strength. Judges 15:19 [Lehi = jawbones]

6. Consecration  to the Lord
Remember that Samson was Nazirite. In Hebrew Nazir means dedicated or consecrated. Devotion to the Lord means abstinence from what the world has to offer such as fermented drink or anything unclean. Read the story of Samson in Judges 13 and beyond. 

7. Watch out for fleshly women (or men)
You know the story of Samson and Deliliah for it is written: "Having put him to sleep on her lap, she called a man to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him." [And then his two eyes got poked out.] 16:19 [Note: fleshly men or women refer to those who live primarily on the fleshly dimension.]

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Watch out for the "little" (or small) bang then big bang'

Lately UBF goes through changes in leadership in chapters world-wide. And those who are newly appoined as leaders impliment measures that bring out  'changes' to the "ministry". Apparently one of the reasons why those who chose to bring about  'changes' is the 'problems' they (as well as the so called 'ex-ubf members') noticed in UBF.

The "change" however is not so much the change in 'people' filling leadership positions, but in what has gone and will continue to go (knowingly or unknowingly) into the universes of the spirits and minds of the people sitting in the leadership positions. One quick way to verify this is for you to compare what Mother Barry (if you know her) or Dr. Samuel Lee believes in with what those who have been invited to do the 'consultation' to the UBF ministry at the HQ level believe in. 

Or watch the video clip and think about the theory of 'the little bang' rather than 'big bang', for according to this theory, the Big Bang if at all was caused by the "Little Bang".

That which is small and little is hardly perceived. Yet a subtle change that takes place in the privacy of your mind results in you going to an entirely different direction than you originally intended to go. I've noticed this to be the case again and again in trying to get built a small garden room in my backyard. So I ask, "What is the most important tool you must carry all the time in beginning a construction project?" Answer: level - an accurate one.

What then is the level for you to use in building your life (or ministry or a nation)?

We find the answr to this question in Judges 2:2 where our Lord Jesus speaks to the post-Joshua (or post modern if you will) generation ("PJG"). He loves his children, so he does not want his children suffer loss. But he saw them going down the road the way of endless sufferings.

There are two words that describe the 'unnecessary' sufferings Jesus saw coming to their lives: thorrns and snares. In a capentry work unless you be careful it is so easy to get a saw dust getting into your eyes or a tiny pice of splinter lodged into your finger. Once a splinter gets into a finger (much less to your 'side' ) you feel so irritated that you cannot continue on with the project without first taking it out.

Consider your 'gods' becoming a snare to you.

 "They will be [thorns] in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you." 2:3

As used in the Bible, snare refers to a noose to catch beasts or birds. Imagine you becoming like a bird locked up in a cage or a wild game caught up in a noose ready to turn to a dish! It also means 'death', as is written: "The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me." Psalm 18:5 Further the word is used to describe an iron ring that puts through the nose of a beast.  (Job 40:24) Imagine you getting 'decorated' :-) with an iron nose ring, and being dragged to a place you do not want to go. How would you like it?

On hearing the words of the Lord, the PJG wept aloud, and they called the place "Bokim" [meaning "weeping.''] Why did they weep so loud? I don't know.

The truth however is that the Israelites did their best. Yet the Lord's verdict was 'You have disobeyed me." What was their sin?

Their sin consisted in not so much them falling short of doing all the do's or not doing all the 'don'ts', but 'disobeying' a person "the Lord".

In what respect did they not obey the Lord? Or why does it seem  (or is it indeed) so hard to obey the Lord?

The answer is found in the expression 'the people of this land' especially the words 'this land' particularly 'this' rather than 'the other'.

Jesus the Lord came from above. The place where the Israelites was brought to is often called 'the Promised Land'. But the real meaning of the promised 'land' is not the physical land but the spiritual land, just as is written: "[Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob] were  looking for a better country - a heavenly one." Hebrews 11:16

What does the people of this land mean? We find the answer to this question in what Jesus said in John 8:23, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world."

So to avoid endless/needless loss, do two things: one for the past another for the future:

1) for the past - break down their altars (of the people of this land)
2) for the future - do not make a covenant (with the people of this land)

If you repent and turn to the Lord, you have entered into a new covenant - the covenant sealed with the blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb  of God. Then you are born from above. You've  begun the life that is upward mobile, for you are on the path of life that leads upward to keep you from going down the grave (or snare). Pro 15:24

So get into the relationship with the Lord and keep it that way.

One word: watch out for the little bang so that there should be 'no bang'.