Today Pastor Choi takes a moment to reflect on the goal of 2015 for Manahawkin Congregation: the Year of Knowing Jesus. Out of many lessons he learned through the year, he shares the following three: first, love the Lord with a pure heart. Next, do everything for the glory of God and His pleasure (I Corinthians 10:31). Thirdly, brighten the corner where you are.
Following is a summary of the sermon:
Reflections on 2015
Today we have the cantata, so my message will be brief.
First of all, as pastor of this congregation, I would like to thank God for His faithfulness. He has blessed us to finish this year strong, therefore, let us praise our Heavenly Father who sustained us both physically and spiritually. I also thank all of you for loving the Lord and being faithful to His ministry through your presence, gifts, and talents.
I’d like to take a moment to reflect on our goal of 2015—“the year of knowing Jesus.” I hope and pray that all of us have made progress in our faith and practice.
Personally, this year was one of the most productive years in terms of growing spiritually. I have discovered Jesus in new and refreshing ways that, in turn, energized my walk with the Lord.
I’ve made over 30 discoveries throughout the year in knowing Jesus and they can be squeezed down to the following three:
First, love the Lord with a pure heart. The Lord taught me to check on my motive why I wanted to know Jesus on a deeper level in the first place: it is never for selfish gains such as ‘doing great wonders and miracles’ or ‘making our church ten times bigger than it is now.’ Rather, He wants me to know, enjoy, and love Him with a pure motive for the sake of relationship not for the benefits thereof. E.g. In any healthy and thriving relationship, no one looks for what’s in it for them first; rather, they love each other first, and enjoy the benefits thereafter.
Next, do everything for God’s glory and His pleasure (1 Corinthians 10:31). Often times, I find myself keeping God’s commands for fear factors such as ‘to avoid the consequences of sins’ or ‘not to fall into temptations.’ The Lord wants me to change that attitude: keep His word, not because I’m afraid if I don’t, but because I love Him. E.g. English sentence: I don’t have to, but I love to. From now on, I will keep His Word not because I have to, but because I love Jesus (John 14:23). Jesus also reminds me of this: whenever I keep His Word, it pleases Him. E.g. Eric Liddell “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” Let us do everything, from reading the Bible to prayer, from worship to our words, for His pleasure. When He is pleased, it makes us pleased in turn.
Thirdly, brighten the corner where you are. I realize more and more that the Lord doesn’t expect me to save the entire world (it is the job for Jesus). Rather, He expects me to brighten the corner where I am and to blossom where I am planted. E.g. A young man in 1930s wanted to liberate Korea from Japanese occupation by joining the armed resistance. His mentor’s advice was to stay home instead and brighten the corner where he was. What matters most in the sight of the Lord is: not how many great achievements we make but how much we love people around us with Christ-like love. “Fervently love one another from the heart” (1 Peter 1:22, NASB).
2015 is almost over. However, knowing Jesus doesn’t stop on December 31. It is an ongoing process for us. Let us keep growing in His love, knowledge, insight so that we may test and know what matters most and stay pure and blameless until Christ comes (Philippians 1:9-11). Amen.