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Monday, July 21, 2014

Grandma is No. 1

Once upon a time a brother who lives in the south wanted to go fight with his brother living in the north, for he thought in rebellion his brother in the north broke the unity and went out, whereupon the Lord said via his prophet, to the brother in the south, "Don't do it, for 'this [tearing] is my doing'". 2 Ch 11:1-4

The name of the prophet is Shemiah which means "heard by the Lord". The name connotes an obedient man listening to the Lord, praying to the Lord, heard by the Lord (getting his prayers answered), a man in a constant life-stream with the Lord, the source of life.

Shemiah went out and said, "This 'tearing' (act of rebellion) is my doing". It is the Lord's doing, for the Lord said to Solomon that "this" is what was going to happen down the road - a result of Solomon not hearing the Lord but persisting in his own way. 1Ki 11:4,11

So hearing the Lord keeps the family in peace. Disobedience to the Lord breaks the unity.

To help his children keep the family in perfect peace and harmony, the Lord calls out to his children saying, "Hear O Israel, the Lord your God is one: love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength." Deu 6:4,5 This calling is called "Shemah Calling". Shemah means, "hearing" (or simply talking).

One (1) is the first whole number. In Genesis 1-2 the Lord kept the family in wholesome 'oneness'. From Genesis 3 till Revelation 20 we see the brokenness of the oneness. In last two chapters of the Bible we see the oneness of the family restored.

July 19, 2014, my wife Rebekah had the first birth day in Redding. Her children recognized that she keeps the family in peaceful unity. So on her birthday they came around the eating table, sang "Happy birthday", and said, "Grandma is no. 1".

Question: what is her source of peace? The answer is still the same: "Shemah": she hears the Lord. Every morning she spends good hours reading the Bible, and praying. The Lord hears her, that there is peace in the family. So here is the truth: Grandma is No. 1 (or the best) because the Lord with whom she is in constant live-stream is No. 1, just as it is written: "Hear O Israel, the Lord your God is ONE". 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Wedding (Jing and Ryan)

Groom entered
Bride entered

# Joyful joyful we adore thee
# Prayer
# My song is love unknown
# Wedding Sermon on Jeremiah 29:11 by John Kwon - he urged to renounce one's own plan and live by the Lord's plan by submitting oneself to the Lord. Americans might consider Chinese as enemies but children of God do not do that. Rather they pray for the prosperity of the Chinese. Pray for Ryan and Jing to serve the Lord's purpose and plan for them and for China, praying to preach gospel and for the prosperity of the Chinese people, the plan for Bible China and World campus mission!

# Marriage vows

# Ring exchange

# Proclamation of marriage 

# Groom kisses bride

# Presentation of Mr. And Mrs. Libert

# Music program 
- "I am a child of God" ( Lydia Hopeman )
- Orchestra 
- "Your deep love" (Choir)

# Words of congratulations and blessing:

- Jing's dad from China (online)
- Hanyang Coworkers (online)
- Brothers and sisters of China (online)
- Grace Lee (Dr Peter Lee's wife) of Hanyang

# Photos

Monday, July 7, 2014

Good soldier of Jesus Christ

From July 3 (Thursday) to July 7 (Monday) Missionary Nathan of Brazil and Missionary Philip Lee of Downey, LA visited Redding, Ca. It was a prayer journey, praying for Bible Brazil, Bible North America, and Bible Mainland China.

Nathan is a missionary to  Brazil. He is  visiting the U.S. to attend the wedding between Jing and Ryan. due on July 12. Jing is sister from southern part of China. She is now working on a Ph.D in business management. Ryan is working on a master program in Nevada majoring in earth science.

Missionary Philip brought lots of kimchi. During the Independence Day Missionary Philip fixed kimchi. In the evening we had a BBQ at my backyard. After dark we watched the fireworks.

Saturday we explored the Lassen National Park. There we did the Kings Creek Trail and the Bumpass' Hell Hot-spring. In the evening, I had a Bible study (1 Chronicles) with Nathan.

On Sunday (July 6) we had a worship service.  Missionary Philip served a message on 2 Timothy 2:3-5. Then we made a visit to Lake Shasta Caverns.

Shasta Lake (Nathen -seated; Philip walking on a pier)

During evening hours we had a Bible study on the Lord's world mission vision. Bible passages we covered included: Matthew 28; Romans 8:31; Col 2:15; Gen 13:14; Deu 11:24. Around 9:00 pm it cooled off, so we went out to the Turtle Bay and did the Sacramento River Trail. During the trail we could see the color of the Turtle Bay Bridge changing.

Good solder of Christ

2 Timothy 2:4-6.

No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.
Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.

Today’s passage teaches us how to serve God’s ministry and also how to discharge all our duties at work places and at home.

First, look at verse 4.

No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.

We are not regular ordinary civilians since we were bought by the blood of Jesus and became born again.  We are disciples of Jesus.  We are blessed to grow in Jesus and serve Him and His Kingdom.  So we do not live like other regular civilians.  How do other regular civilians live? Their first priority is family oriented life or their jobs or anything else they like to do in this world.  But, the priority of Jesus’ disciples is to please our commanding officer, Jesus.  So we focus on growing in the words of God and teaching his sheep and raising them up as his disciples.  It is easy to say this, but this requires a lot of work and focus.  If we do not focus on this, we are very distracted by so many things in this world, and at the end we can not see good results.  We can not raise up even one disciple.  We are living in very distracting generation with such as all kinds of media such as endless news daily through the internet.  So we can waste our precious time at least a few hours per day easily watching over those things on the internet.  But, instead of wasting those hours a day in that way, we can use for God’s kingdom purpose by writing letters to our sheep or to prepare good Bible notes.  The followings are my prayer topics of this year.

  1. Reduce spending a lot of time for news, sport updates on the internet, and use time in doing the work of God.

  1. To feed David Lantow & Alex Chu at Whittier college faithfully and raise them up as Jesus’ disciples.

  1. Study Portuguese & Spanish in order to support missionary Nathan family in Brazil & to serve Spanish speaking people.

  1. Pray for shepherd Max’s new life.

  1. Continually support our soccer ministry and feed our soccer students with 1:1 Bible studies.  At this moment about 15 Warrant high current or graduated students are coming to our Sunday soccer fellowship faithfully

  1. Being faithful to early morning daily bread and prayer devotion time.

  1. Continue to help our children to eat and write daily bread at least during holidays and summer break.

  1. Feed at least 5 new students with 1:1s

  1. Write letters to God’s sheep & coworkers diligently 

What is the first prayer topic among these. The number one is to reduce time to spend on the internet and use them for God’ kingdom purpose because I am very distracted by the internet daily.  I had to repent of spending much time on this and make a decision to change as this new year started.  May the Lord help us not to waste much time on the internet, but use precious time for the work of God.

Let us read verse 4 again. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.  I had one good experience regarding this verse: Since I came to US, God’s mission field, in April 1995, as his servant, for about 16 years, I could not meet my family in Korea not because I did not want to meet with them, but because I could not have time and money to visit them being busy serving God’s mission and raising children in this mission field.  We did not have enough money to visit them.  On the contrary we had a lot of credit card debts such as $80,000 or $90,000.  In some sense, I felt ashamed because I had nothing to give them.  But, during those 16 years, some students grew up out of students our family fished and served.  And at the right time, God’s sent me and my wife to our family in Korea after about 16 years, when we attended our UBF international Bible Conference in Korea in 2012.  We brought a lot of gifts for them.  What was amazed was when I visited them, one brother, two sisters, and one brother in law became evangelists after graduating from seminary schools in Korea.  I realized that the Lord took care of them very well while I was busy in this mission field.  When missionary Nathan decided to live in Sao Paulo, Brazil, as a missionary, there was a great work of God in his younger sister’s life and also in her husband’ life.  His younger sister studies the Bible with shepherdess Ataiena via Skype and she even goes fishing.  Her husband also studies the Bible with missionary Nathan via Skype.

Missionary Nathan, when do you think would be a right time to visit your family in Paris, France?  I think at least it is after you graduate from your graduate school and get a full time job and save money from your full time job for your family airplane tickets and gifts for your family in France.  Plus, hopely after raising up at least one disciple out of Brazilian students.

May the Lord help us to live as God’s servants not being involved in civilian affairs.

Second, let us read verse 5.

Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. 

Apostle Paul compared a good servant of God to a good athlete.  We know how to be a good athlete through Olympic games. In order to be a good athlete, he or she has to go through a lot of training.  Especially to be successful athletes like medalists in Olympic game, it requires even more intensive training.  Likewise, in order to be spiritual good athletes, we need to be well disciplined through such as coming to early morning daily bread and prayers faithfully and preparing the good Bible notes and messages faithfully and feeding sheep in Good times and in bad times.  Let us read verse 5 again.  Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.  Apostle Paul talks about “the rules” here.  An athlete competes according to the rules.  Regarding the rules, Apostle Paul refers the way of service, especially in love, long patience, walking in the work of the Holy Spirit and everything in prayer.  We have to take long patience and prayers over one student for many many years.

Out of “the rules”, serving the Lord through prayers is the very important rule because everything is on God’s hand.  Although we work hard, if there are no God’s blessings, we can not bear good fruits.  This battle field belongs to the Lord and win or lose belongs to the Lord.  So we need to always pray to the Lord.  When missionary Nathan left United States to Brazil, he desired to raise 12 disciples and then 100 disciples out of working with these 12 disciples.  Without seeing these, he promised not to leave Brazil to pioneer any other countries in Latin America.  When he left United States for Brazil, he was filled with desires to pioneer all Latin America.  Do you remember this?  But, as you know, raising up 12 disciples is not an easy task. Raising up even on disciple is not easy.  We can not do without God’s help and blessings, although we have very strong desires.  That means we must pray a lot for God’s blessings.   

Also, we should have a right attitude.  For example, one person said “See other missionaries, they don’t go fishing, they don’t raise any disciples, so what is a problem for me not to raise up even one disciple.  This kind of attitude is not graceful.  We must have a right attitude and live before God and live on this words.  When we see other missionaries not being able to raise up disciples, we should think in a right attitude by making a decision to work even harder and pray harder in order to take care of my portion and plus other missionaries’ portions.  This is true love toward other missionaries. 

Third, apostle Paul compared a good servant of God to a hardworking farmer.  Let us read verse 6. 

“The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops”.

Here a hard working farmer refers to a farmer who works hard, who is not lazy.  A farmer should be diligent and work hard if he wants to see good fruits.  There are a lot of work to be done for a farmer who expects to see good fruits such as cultivating the land, fertilizing, removing weeds constantly, pruning, and harvesting fruits or veggies, and delivering to right places, etc.  There are endless works to do. 

Last Thursday, I and missionary Nathan brought 4 boxes of veggies and several other items without missing even one important item to make Kimchi.  See how we, especially I and missionary Rebekah worked hard to make Kimchi.  I had to wash cabbages several times and also chopped many radishes to make ingredients of Kimchi souce, and then my fingers became tired and worn out.  To make one valuable item like this demands a lot of work.  How much more we have to work hard to produce spiritual fruits to present Jesus for eternal life and everlasting rewards.

Let us read Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”  This verse explains well, whatever we do, we reap what we sow.  We work hard, we reap good results.  We do not work hard, then we reap nothing or less.  We can not cheat the Lord.  We work hard in our spiritual battle fields with fishing and 1:1s, preparing good Bible notes and feeding them faithfully and praying for them day and night, then surely the Lord will bless our prayers and hard working with good disciples one by one.  On the contrary, we do not do this, then there will be no good results. 

Jesus also said in Matthew 7:18 “A good tree can not bear bad fruit, and a bad tree can not bear good fruit.  Not only spiritual battle, we also have to work hard at school or at work places as well.  In order to get a nice job at nice companies, Missionary Nathan has to work hard at a graduate school going extra miles, going beyond his school classes.   So that he can demonstrate himself as an excellent and hard working employee candidate when he apply for a job at good companies like Sao Paulo branch office of Google, or Microsoft, or, or Cisco, or SAP, etc.

I have about 15 soccer students.  We started our soccer fellowship with them about one year ago.  I invited them to soccer fellowship at Apollo park near our Bible center in Downey.  Basically every Sunday, I carried goals, balls, other equipments to keep fellowship with them.  Finally we could build good friendship with them and then they came to my house for my birthday party.  I have never had a birthday party for the last 19 years life in US, but this year I had the first birthday party only to invite these soccer students to our house and to present our invitation to the Bible studies.  We had wonderful fellowship even playing pin-pong together.  To attract students, it requires hard working, sacrifice, and faithfulness like this.

Today we learned how to be good servants of God, although there are many different kinds of Christians: Sunday Christians, easy going Christians, easy going disciples, easy going fathers, and husbands, but there are good and hard working Christians, fathers, husbands who know taking care of their family and spiritual children well.

When  we work hard, we must work hard with a right direction.  What is good if we work hard for a wrong direction.  So we have to think and remember what the Bible says and get right directions from our Lord Jesus. 

For example, Mt 5:48: Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.  We have to think how to have things done in perfect ways rolling our eye balls to south, to north, to west, and to east, observing everything going on.

Let us read verses  No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.

One word: The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.

Digesting the Book of 2 Chronicles - Framework of Reformation

The Framework for Reformation

2 Chronicles 1:1 - 36:23
Read 36:15-23
Key Verse 36:23

"This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:
       " 'The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you—may the LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.' "

Welcome to the study of the book of 2 Chronicles. Tonight we would like to cover 2 Chronicles by focusing on the last seven verses of the book.

The title of our study is "The Framework for Reformation," for we assume that the author Ezra must have written 1 and 2 Chronicles in preparation for his return to Jerusalem, so that as he goes back to the Promised Land he would lead the people to reform their way of life and then hopefully transform the nation Israel into a priestly nation.

For this purpose Ezra found it necessary to recount the history of the past. A review of the past should bring people to the realization of the cause(s) of their downfall. It is like a medical doctor checking patient’s history of illnesses to diagnose the current problem and come up with the right prescription.

In 1 Chronicles Ezra gave the account of the history from Adam to David. Adam provided the human race with the first cause of downfall. David however represents the antithesis of Adam, in that the Lord used him to have the Lord's temple ready to be erected. The Lord's temple represents the remedy for the consequences of Adam's downfall. In sum, 1 Chronicles covers the introduction of the problem and the introduction of the solution.

2 Chronicles stands in strong contrast with 1 Chronicles in that it begins with the construction (and operation) of the temple, the framework for life, and ends with the destruction (and cessation of the service) of the Lord's temple. In the last part of 2 Chronicles, Ezra sums up how the Lord desired to support life for Israel and yet how they ended up forfeiting this grace. The last seven verses provide us with two pivotal pillars of reformation.

I. The word of the Lord (15-16)

Verses 15-16 note that since the Israelites failed to pay attention to the living word of the Lord they were expelled from the land. In other words, had they paid attention to the word of the Lord they could have continued to live in the Promised Land.

By the same token as the Israelites came to have the second chance to go back to the land, it was critical for them to pay attention to the word of the Lord that they could reform their ways of life and restore God’s purpose for them as a holy nation.

So the word of God is the foundation for reformation. We can easily understand this concept when we think about the way God created the universe and everything in it, that is, through the word of God. The other day as John Lee was working on a classroom at the youth center, the nail gun began to make a hissing sound. Since air was leaking from the nail gun we wanted to get it fixed and took it to a repair center. They asked for the serial number specified in the manual. But we lost the manual. The Bible is the manual for life. When life goes out of order we can look to the Bible. In the Bible we can find the way man's life is built and then figure out where it might have gone wrong. Then we can find the solution to the problem.

Since the word of God has all we need for life, the first thing the enemy Satan did was to tempt Eve to deviate from the word. In the same way the Israelites slid from the way to prosperity by first straying away from the living word.

The truth that God's word is the key for reformation and transformation is further supported by the examples of saints getting their lives in order, all according to the word of the Lord. In the history of the kings of Israel, there lived in Jerusalem a king named Josiah. His day was chaotic. His life became so disorderly and he did not know why things grew so difficult. But one day in the course of repairing the temple, the high priest Hilkiah found the Bible (the book of the Law of the Lord). Upon reading the Bible, Josiah found repentance topics. He then led a major repentance movement.

As we shall see in studying the book of Ezra, the Prophet Ezra led the reformation by assisting the congregation to read the whole Bible.
In our day to day life, keeping the Bible to our heart daily helps us find repentance topics so we can turn to God for his healing. As we live in this world which is yet to be redeemed, our minds and spirits naturally get contaminated. Whether we like it or not, and with or without ourselves knowing, we get influenced by this sinful world. Even without ourselves knowing we end up becoming wicked. We can easily understand this phenomenon when we think about how quickly our room or office gets cluttered. Just like our places get disorganized and grow disorderly unless we constantly keep things organized, so also the inner space within us gets so quickly worldly unless we constantly keep the inside in order. Thinking that the job to clean up daily is too much, one might be tempted to do one big clean up and never bother again.  But we know that nature does not work this way. For example, when one keeps his house cleaned up and leaves it unoccupied, will the house remain clean all the time? No. Dust will soon pile up and spiders come out of nowhere. When spiders come out and find the room empty, they will think that they’ve got a Garden of Eden and will start decorating the house room by room with cobwebs of all different shapes.

This is the exact case with our spiritual house. In fact, our spiritual house (the inner person, that is, the domain of our soul and spirit) gets contaminated a lot quicker than the physical spaces, such as a room or office. For what is spiritual is more sensitive and fragile to harmful elements than what is physical. Speaking of the same phenomenon, the Prophet Isaiah says, "The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught" (Isaiah 50:4), and, "He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver" (Isaiah 49:2). Here the expression, "to know the word that sustains the weary," speaks of the need to keep orderly the spiritual man from the inside not every once in a while but morning by morning. The word "hid" indicates the need for one to preserve his inner person from worldly influence so that he would not be corrupted and become dysfunctional.

Viewed in this way, we can understand how influenced by the world the Israelites must have become after seventy years of Babylonian captivity. Likewise, we can tell for sure what will happen to a man (or a family, a society, or a nation) when he neglects, mocks, and scoffs at the words spoken by the Lord's prophets. By the same token, the way to bring people back from despondency to the excellence of God is to bring people back to the living word of God.   

Part II. The temple of the Lord (17-23)

1 Chronicles begins with Adam and ends with David making all the necessary preparations to build the Lord's temple. 2 Chronicles begins with King Solomon completing the construction of the Lord's temple and ends with the Lord's temple getting completely destroyed, only to see Cyrus issuing the order to rebuild it.  

This chronology sheds light on the problems and solutions to the problems we have been suffering from. Ezra saw the light. As we shall see in the book of Ezra, he leads reformation focusing first on the word of the Lord and then on the worship at the Lord's temple.
While God's word correctly diagnoses the problems, the worship at the Lord's temple offers the solution to the problems.

In fact, in 2 Chronicles the Prophet Ezra gives us a visual presentation of this truth. For example, in 2 Chronicles 5:14 it is written: "And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the temple of God." The "glory" refers to the Lord's attributes manifested in a visible form. This term represents the heart of the solution to all the problems we have. At the same time the manifestation (the glory filling the temple) denotes the goal of reformation and transformation. For the end picture of reformation and transformation is to ensure that the glory of the Lord rests amongst God's children. When the Lord's glory fills each person, God's healing will be commonplace. Peace will roll like a river. The joy of salvation will be constant.

In 2 Chronicles 36:14, then, it is written: "Furthermore, all the leaders of the priests and the people became more and more unfaithful, following all the detestable practices of the nations and defiling the temple of the LORD, which he had consecrated in Jerusalem." This verse sets forth the net amount of the work to be done for reformation, that is, to first restore faith in the Lord, second, to renounce "all" the detestable practices of the nations, and third, to reorder the worship at the Lord's temple.

By the time of Ezra’s return to Jerusalem, technically the temple (as built under the leadership of Zerubbabel) stood in Jerusalem. The temple represents the spec (or model) for the worship that must take place in the heart of each individual.

At the outset of the year 2008 we studied the book of Hebrews where we could see in detail how the Lord provided a way for sinful men to come to him. The features include the altar, the offerings, the priesthood, the distinction between the holy place and the most holy place, and the festivals, such as the Passover, the Day of Atonement, and The Feast of Tabernacles. These features boil down to one thing: opening the "way" for all sinners to solve the problem of sin, come to the Lord God and remain in constant fellowship with him.

In the context of the New Testament era, after Jesus’ ascension, the gospel is being preached to all nations. Yet, the gospel itself calls for all believers to meet the same challenge, that is, the call to repent and the call to turn to God. One may glibly say, "Okay, Jesus died for our sins. If you believe in Jesus, you are going to heaven." But we must remember that Jesus came to deal with the problem of sin. For this reason, Galatians 5:24 says, "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires." Speaking of the same truth, the Apostle Peter says, in Acts 2:38, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Then he further adds, "Through these [i.e., the Lord's provision, especially his divine power] he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (1 Peter 1:4).

Like the Israelites who became worldly and went into Babylonian captivity, it is possible that a believer in the Lord abandons the way of faith and is overcome by this sinful world. So the Apostle Peter warns us in 2 Peter 2:20 saying, "If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning." In short, the call to lead people to reformation and transformation is still on all the ministers of the new covenant. Transformation must begin with the word of God and must continue until God's Spirit fills the hearts of God's children.

In conclusion, 2 Chronicles 36:23 reads, "This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: 'The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you--may the LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.' " Ezra took note of the Lord God who already began the work of restoration for his people. With this vision in mind, and in order to work on the vision, he made a close review of God's work in the history of the Israelites beginning with Adam all the way to the people of his own day. Through this study he learned that two things were critical for restoration: the word of God and the Lord's temple. In our own generation the same challenge is upon us. Let us pray that we would all dedicate ourselves to studying the word of God so that we may find out where this nation has gone wrong. Let us pray to build the Lord's temple in the hearts of all peoples on earth, one person at a time, particularly among young college students.

One word: the road to restoration

Class Exercise:

1.            Who in the Bible performed reformation in accordance with the Bible (called the Law of the Lord)?

2.            What is the name of the king who was rebuked by the Lord for helping the wicked and loving those who hate the Lord?

3.            Which king of Judah died of leprosy?

4.          Why did the king (described in Q. 3 above) die of leprosy?

5.            2 Chronicles starts with the completion of a ________ and ends with Cyrus issuing a decree to build a ________.

6.            The Lord God sent ________to them (the Israelites) through his _________ again and again, because he had ________ on his people and on his ______________.

7.            During the Israelites’ exile to Babylon, the land (of Israel) ______________.