20190224 Sunday Worship Sermon
“God is Our Strength” (Psalm 46:1-3)
I believe that God gives His messages to us in many ways… through Worship service, pastors’ preaching, Holy Communion… and when we pray or sing hymns… and through the faithful believers’ testimonies….
And some people have a God moment through them.
That spiritual moment is usually very individual and brings the new vital energy in their spiritual lives.
When we had the Holy Communion last time, I saw a lady from our Korean congregation receive the elements with tears and knelt down and prayed.
She came to me after the service and said that she had a God moment during the Holy Communion.
I cannot tell you the details but through the God moment, she has the strong hope and faith now that holds her to trust God firmly.
I hope and pray that many people have this kind of God moment so that we can trust God in all the circumstances and stand firmly in this world.
This morning, I would like to share some testimonies.
I hope and pray that you have an experience of receiving God’s personal message and having a God moment!
There are many ways to explain Faith.
Christian faith has many aspects in it but this morning, especially, I want to tell you that ‘Faith is to trust God whatever circumstances we are in.’
A man of strong faith is the one who firmly trusts God.
No matter how bad a situation is, a man or a woman of faith trusts God and stands firm in his or her faith in God.
Although things may not go well, they do not turn back against God.
That is because they can see what others cannot see with eyes of faith.
Instead, those who are of little faith easily doubt.
When conditions become threatening, they lose their confidence in God.
Even many people turn back against God.
They try to find something else to comfort themselves…. Or try to find wrong Joy from drinking, drugs or other things…
These people do not have spiritual eyes with which they can see God’s helping hands even in the midst of trials.
In Psalm 121:1-3, it is said,
“I lift up my eyes to the hills--from where will my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.” (Psalm 121:1-3)
We should trust God always and stand firm in our faith.
As you walk the path of Jesus, sometimes you feel that you walk alone.
But Jesus always walks beside you.
Please know that you will never walk alone as you go your Christian journey.
Because Jesus is our faithful friend and our good shepherd, when we trust in him, he gives us strength and he guides us to green pastures and still waters.
Indeed, Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life.
I want us to ask this question to ourselves.
How much time do we spend with God?
American time management expert, Michael Portiner surveyed hundreds of people on their time usage.
The result of the survey showed that, out of average life span of 72 years, people used 23 years for sleep, 20 years for work, 7 years for rest, 6 years for eating, 5 years for waiting including waiting in line or traffic light, another 3 years for waiting for someone at an appointment.
(Maybe ladies…) 4 years for cooking, 3 years for shopping, 2 years for home maintenance things… 2 years for make-up, and 1 year for telephone calling.
Then how much do you think average American Christian spend their time for worshiping God?
It is only a year and half.
Of course, people may spend more time with God by reading the bible and praying in their daily lives.
But this still is not much time in comparison to other activities.
We need to try to spend more time with God and to get closer to God throughout our lives.
This is an effort so we can build a strong relationship with God.
The joy and happiness that we experience in the relationship with God cannot compare with worldly joy and happiness.
Jesus Christ is the Lord of our life and he is your mighty king and savior.
And nothing and no one can compare with Jesus for He is our strength and almighty God and the greatest shepherd.
When was your last time to say,
“Oh Lord, I love you. I need you. I want to walk with you…”? / O Lord, You are my savior, and strength…”
I pray that all of you will love our Christ more and more, and build a relationship with God deeper and deeper. Keep your first love for Jesus.
His love will preserve you no matter who you are and what your circumstances are.
Sometimes we see that people react differently as they face trials.
In trials and suffering time, some people so despair that they even give up many things easily.
But we see that the people of faith do not despair even in the midst of trials and they overcome it with the faith in God.
They even experience the peace and grace of God in the midst of trials.
A song in our Hymnal, “It is well with my soul,” is a very well known song.
It’s a beautiful song.
This song was written by a Chicago lawyer, Horatio Spafford.
The words, "When sorrows like sea billows roll ... It is well with my soul”, were not written during the happiest period of Spafford's life.
On the contrary, they came from a man who had suffered almost unimaginable personal tragedy.
He was a devout Christian and faithful student of the Scriptures.
His circle of friends included D. L. Moody, and a gospel singer Sankey and various other well-known Christians of the day.
At the very height of his financial and professional success, Spafford and his wife Anna suffered the tragic loss of their young son.
Shortly thereafter on October 8, 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed almost every real estate investment that Spafford had.
In 1873, Spafford scheduled a boat trip to Europe in order to give his wife and daughters a much needed vacation and time to recover from the tragedy.
He also went to join Moody and Sankey on an evangelistic campaign in England.
Spafford sent his wife and daughters ahead of him while he remained in Chicago to take care of some unexpected last minute business.
Several days later he received notice that his family's ship had encountered a collision.
All four of his daughters drowned; only his wife had survived.
With a heavy heart, Spafford boarded a boat that would take him to his grieving Anna in England.
When he was passing over the spot where his four daughters had perished.
He wrote a letter to Rachel, his wife's half-sister,
"On Thursday last we passed over the spot where she went down, in mid-ocean, the waters three miles deep. But I do not think of our dear ones there. They are safe, folded, the dear lambs."
It was on this trip that he penned those now famous words….
‘When sorrow like sea billows roll; it is well, it is well with my soul..’
For more than a century, the tragic story of one man has given hope to countless thousands who have lifted their voices to sing, ‘It Is Well With My Soul.’
I pray that you will also experience peace and hope that comes from God that hold us firm even in time of trials and suffering.
Are you in time of trials or suffering now?
I hope that you find your gracious God who is bigger than the trials.
God’s love is bigger than your sorrows.
Let us sing together verse 1 of “It is well with my soul.”
“When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul
It is well, with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul”
I want to share with you one more story of a man who trusted God for victory in time of suffering.
His name is Robert Lee.
He is a rehabilitation doctor at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.
What is amazing is that he is a serious handicapped person whose legs and arms are paralyzed.
Dr. Lee goes the rounds of his patients in a wheelchair.
He is called as a ‘Superman Doctor’.
Dr. Robert Lee and his family immigrated to America from Korea when he was eight years old.
And he showed his talent as a gymnast.
At his senior year in high school, he selected as a standby US national gymnastics team.
And he received many good proposals from many universities including Penn State University, Stanford University, UCLA and West Point US military academy….
His future looked bright at that time.
However, one tragic accident changed everything.
He fell down hard on the floor while he was practicing a very difficult acrobatic jump.
His jaw fell down hard and his neck was severely injured.
When that accident happened, he could not move at all.
He said everything turned just like a black screen, and three letters clearly appeared.
That was “G O D”
He was diagnosed with quadriplegia…. paralyzed all of his body.
The news was a bolt out of the blue to him.
He could not accept that he could do gymnastics no more and he had to give up playing for the US national team.
He was in the deepest despair he could be in… But he trusted God.
He did not lose his confidence in God.
And he began his rehab.
His progress was outstanding and some of his muscles and nerves came back after 4 months.
One day his therapist gave him a medical book related to his rehab.
While he read the book, he found in him the desire to become a doctor.
But his physical condition made it very difficult for him to study.
He could not even sit at his desk for several hours.
It was hard for him to write a note.
But he did his best and devoted himself to study as he did for gymnastics.
And an amazing thing began to happen which no one ever expected.
He went to Columbia University for Public Health.
And he went to Dartmouth Medical School and Harvard University Medical School.
When he graduated from Harvard Medical School, he received an honor for an outstanding achievement.
And finally he became a rehabilitation doctor at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
He offered people not only the medical service but also hope.
A doctor in a wheelchair was a great message not to give up to many people who experienced trials and suffering in their lives.
When you trust God even in time of trials and suffering, even in a difficult circumstance, God can turn your suffering into joy and trials into blessings.
Our God is a good God and powerful God.
What kind of story do you have in your faith journey?
Brothers and sisters in Christ, why don’t we make a beautiful story with Christ in our life journey?
God will be glorified by our stories.
And God will help us and guide us when we seek him.
One thing important is that we have to trust God in all the circumstances…
We have to stand firmly on the promises of God…
In Isaiah 49:15, it is said,
“Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.”
God tells us now, “I love you… You are my son… you are my daughter…”
Brothers and sisters, please stand firmly on the promises of God.
Then, you will witness wonderful blessings that God brings into your lives.
Thanks be to God who is our strength. Amen.