Photo & Testimony _ Mexico
This Camp Made Our City Happy ! The English Camp was held in Tecate, Mexico from February 25th to 26th. The attractive thing about the English Camp is that one can speak and practice English without embarrassment, and overcome the fear of making mistakes. It seems that such a non-profit camp unites two countries together. I actively promoted this camp because I thought it was my duty to support this camp with my fellow colleagues. People became aware of this camp through the media. Their expectations rose and desired to attend the camp. I was satisfied with the camp as I saw the participants were satisfied. This camp made our city happy. I look forward to holding many events with IYF in the future. We are always open to IYF and will fully support them. I hope we can have the English Camp again next year. Roberto (Tecate City Council Chairman) 4 â€˘ The Good News May 2012
Volunteers and Students in Tecate
Testimony â€˘ 5
Photo & Testimony _ United States
Return to the Lord The Bible Crusade with Pastor Ock Soo Park was held for two days from April 15th to the 16th at the Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles and for five days from the 16th to the 20th at the Calvary Cathedral of Praise in New York. The 11th class Good News Corps volunteers in the East Coast, brothers and sisters, and ministers prepared for the Bible Crusade for two months. This was the moment when the fruits of hope blossomed. The Gracias Choir melted the hearts of the audience by performing various beautiful melodies. They received a standing ovation and shouts of encore. Pastor Park said that change begins when our human heart crumbles and the heart of God starts to flow inside of us. He entreated us to accept the fact that eternal redemption has already been made and there is no need for sin offerings. 6 â€˘ The Good News May 2012
A Good News Corps volunteer witnessing in Brooklyn, NY
Testimony â€˘ 7
Joshua, Antonio and I had no real questions about faith and salvation. We shared the idea that once we were baptized and “received” Christ we were saved. she had us attend church on a regular basis, hoping to lighten the mental fatigue of moving. As kids, Joshua, Antonio and I had no real questions about faith and salvation. We shared the idea that once we were baptized and “received” Christ we were saved. We continued on with our daily lives and incorporated the Word of God in it as much as we could. I didn’t feel as if anything in my life had changed, neither did my brothers. We were all aware that we sin and have sinned and that we have been forgiven, but we believed that we were not supposed to break the commandments ever and 10 • The Good News May 2012
we lived under that law. The idea of not breaking one commandment seemed so hard to me, and when I did break one, I immediately prayed and asked for forgiveness. I didn’t feel as if I had gained anything from being “saved,” I didn’t feel “saved” at all, I felt a little trapped. This feeling remained for 13 years and I couldn’t connect with the congregation. Five years ago, 2007, Joshua was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer; it turned all of our worlds upside down. I was 20 years old at the time, Joshua was only 18, I couldn’t understand how and why he was diagnosed with this disease at such a young age. I spent many long nights on my knees praying and asking God to help me understand why Joshua was being taken from me. I never received an “answer,” and I didn’t understand. I thought that up until then I was a good Christian, and that I deserved some sort of answer, but it never came. I felt abandoned by God, I felt that this whole time I had been praising
I met brother Peter (center with child) on campus of UCR. He opened his his heart and his home to me.
something that wasn’t real. I stopped believing, I stopped attending church, and I stopped caring. Ultimately, Joshua lost his battle with cancer, further expelling my faith. I spent the next three years criticizing religion, faith and salvation. I had not received an answer while Joshua was fighting cancer; I knew I wasn’t going to receive one after his death. I carried on with my life, making decisions on my
own, approaching every task at-hand with carelessness and complete disregard for other’s feelings. I attended school, worked long hours, and did it all on my own, with no help from God, or so I thought. My parents became concerned when I wasn’t keeping in contact as much as I used to. They felt compelled to try to get me back into church. I wouldn’t do it, I couldn’t do it, and I never did. Testimony • 11
After Joshua’s passing I had moved from county to county, apartment to apartment, school to school
asked to stay with a local friend of mine until I had finished my course and found a place to live in San Francisco. On Thursday, March 8th, 2012 everything changed.
n that early morning, my friend and ultimately put my who was letting me stay received past behind me. a phone call informing her that her grandmother had just After Joshua’s passing I been admitted to the hospital moved from county to county, for a stroke. She told me she apartment to apartment, school needed to leave and be with her to school hoping to find comgrandmother in Los Angeles. I fort and ultimately put my agreed with her and asked her past behind me. I finally put to drop me off at school. I had roots down in Riverside in one class to attend, and a flight 2009. I attended the University to catch at 7:50 pm that night of California, at Riverside. I to San Francisco. In our rush focused on my schoolwork to get out of the apartment, we and nothing else, least of all, failed to notice that the front my faith. It wasn’t until one door to her apartment was week ago, everything I had locked. I went about my day come to know was about to and assumed that I would grab stop abruptly and turn my life my luggage and items needed around. As of now, I’m only 2 for my trip after my class weeks away from completing and catch my flight. When I my courses and will graduate returned to her apartment, I in June. I had moved out of found out the door was locked. my apartment in Riverside and I couldn’t find a way in and
hoping to find comfort
12 • The Good News May 2012
the result was that I missed my flight. I walked back to the UC campus and tried to figure out what to do. As I was walking, a young gentleman handed me a flyer with “Are You Free from Sin?” on it, a Bible discussion invitation taking place that evening. I had entertained the idea of attending, but I was also entertaining the thought of going to the college pub. I decided on going to the discussion. I figured I didn’t have anything to lose, and maybe I could gain something from it. As I sat and listened, the words and topics covered sparked interest in me. I began talking with Dwayne and Peter after the class, and informed them of my current situation. I wasn’t expecting anything from them, I just thought I’d share and maybe share a laugh. Upon hearing, Peter instantly offered a place for me to sleep and more discussion on my idea of faith and salvation. That night as I laid on the couch, I stared at the ceiling asking, “How did I end up here?” The next day,
I attended the discussion and I finally understood. I felt an overwhelming sense of freedom, happiness, and joy from the very second I began to believe. Jesus died for me, my sins were no longer, I’m not in control of my life, and God is. All of my pain, sorrow, and burden were suddenly lifted off my shoulders and I began to smile. On Friday, they invited me to attend the church and meet the short-term missionaries; I knew that this was good for me. I introduced myself to the pastors and the missionaries discussed with them my acceptance and understanding of what Jesus did for me. I indulged in Korean food with them, which I had only tried a few times. I tried hard to communicate with the missionaries and shared in a few funny moments when translating didn’t work. As I laid my head down that night staring at the ceiling, I asked, again “How did I get here?” I knew the answer this time; it was God. Testimony • 13
Salvation by Jesus, Not by Good Works
An Excerpt from One of Pastor Ock Soo Parkâ€™s Sunday Services
What then? are we better [than they]? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat [is] an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps [is] under their lips: Whose mouth [is] full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet [are] swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery [are] in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (Romans 3:9-24)
14 â€˘ The Good News May 2012
Only Jesus is righteous. Thus, we become righteous by accepting the righteousness of Jesus; nothing righteous comes out of us. and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. It is written in Genesis 6:5, And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. It is written here that there is no goodness in man. Romans 3:10 states, There is none righteous, no, not one. This verse is stating that only Jesus is righteous. Thus, we become righteous by accepting the righteousness of Jesus; nothing righteous comes out of us. As we read the Bible, we discover how our thoughts and 16 • The Good News May 2012
the Words are different. MAN HAS ONLY SIN I attended a Presbyterian Church when I was young. I learned in church that if I kept Sundays, kept the Ten Commandments, did good deeds, and gave offerings, my faith would increase and I would be able to go to heaven. As I got older, I discovered who I was—committing sins I didn’t commit when I was young, like stealing and lying. For to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. (Romans 7:18) This verse says there is no goodness in us. People are not able to draw a clear line regarding this and so live a superficial spiritual life. They think if they help others a little more and do good deeds, they will gradually become good and be able to go to heaven and be blessed by God. Then how can man, who has only sin, become righteous? Let’s take a look at
Sermon of the Month
these verses. What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (Romans 3:9-10) Just as Korea imports petroleum from other countries because there is no petroleum there, we have to receive Jesus because there is no righteousness in us. Then we become righteous because the righteousness of Jesus becomes ours. We don’t become righteous through our righteousness. WE CANNOT BE JUSTIFIED BY THE DEEDS OF THE LAW Carnal desires arise from us until the day we die. We might be able to abstain from committing adultery, but we cannot stop ourselves from having lustful thoughts. When we have lustful thoughts, we have already committed adultery in God’s eyes. Although we may not steal, we cannot get rid of
the heart of coveting other people’s things. The moment we covet, we break the commandment, “Thou shalt not covet.” Although we may not murder anyone, we cannot suppress our hatred for others. Sin has already begun in the heart; it just hasn’t appeared as action. God looks at our hearts and not at our actions. That is why we become adulterers, thieves, or murderers in His eyes. In other words, there is no one who does good deeds, and everyone is only evil according to God’s standards. Thus, it is written in the Bible that we cannot be justified through the deeds of the Law. DISCOVERING THAT I CANNOT DO GOOD DEEDS The greatest reason why our spiritual life goes nowhere is because we have the heart that we can do good deeds if we try. It is impossible for a grain of wheat to sprout if the grain remains as it is, and a chick cannot hatch from an Sermon • 17
Therefore, according to Romans 3, faith will naturally form when we clearly know that we are evil people who cannot do good deeds. egg if the egg remains as it is. Likewise, people who think they can do good deeds are confronted with the word, They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (Romans 3:12) If a man truly loves a woman and gives his heart to marry her, that love is genuine. But if a man doesn’t have any love and gives a woman flowers and takes her out to dinner just to take advantage of her, that is bad and despicable. In this way, genuine goodness comes from a good heart without evil. Our hearts can look good or holy for a 18 • The Good News May 2012
moment, but we are evil from the root. Therefore, according to Romans 3, faith will naturally form when we clearly know that we are evil people who cannot do good deeds. THE REASON FOR GIVING THE LAW God spoke to the Israelites through Moses in Exodus 19, Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. The Israelites replied, “We will.” Then God gave them the Ten Commandments to see if they could truly keep them. There is no one who does good deeds according to Romans 3:12. That is why everyone has sin when they stand before the Law. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the
Sermon of the Month
world may become guilty before God. (Romans 3:19) This verse is telling us that there has never been a person who perfectly kept the Law. If one of them is violated, it’s the same as violating all of them. Thus, man cannot receive righteousness and go to heaven by keeping the Law. The Law does not convict us of sin after we break it but rather convicts us of sin by revealing that it is broken already. WHEN THERE IS NO WAY OTHER THAN JESUS There are some among you who think you did more good deeds than others as you attended church. It seems you became a better person because you believe in Jesus. That is why there are times when you think you can live a spiritual life if you try. However, the Bible is telling us that we are all under judgment and cannot avoid it. There is no way for us to avoid the judgment other than Jesus. Just because we do
good deeds doesn’t mean our sin decreases. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:20) There are many wicked people in this world we live in, yet those who believe in Jesus might feel they are not that evil. However, the Bible is telling us there is no flesh that can be justified or become whole by keeping the Law. Is there a righteous person among us who can be acknowledged by God through keeping the Law? There is no one. Perfect faith then is having no other way than Jesus.
Sermon • 19
We have to throw away the heart to trust in ourselves and know that we will be cursed to destruction because we can’t do anything without the grace of Jesus. DECEIVED BY SATAN Satan makes us to think we became better people by doing good deeds. “I quit drinking and smoking as I started attending church. People around me say that I changed.” He deceives us to think we are gradually becoming better people. Soon after receiving salvation, it seems like we changed. Therefore we think we can live a spiritual life. However, as soon as we have that thought, we are not able to live a spiritual life. Evil, deceitfulness, lustfulness, and a despicable heart pours out of us until we die. That’s why we have to throw 20 • The Good News May 2012
away the heart to trust in ourselves and precisely know that we will be cursed to destruction because we can’t do anything without the grace of Jesus. If we don’t look at ourselves, faith in the Lord will form. Many Christians today are not able to draw a clear line in this regard. They are determined and try to do good deeds. That is why they can’t live a spiritual life. BECAUSE I TRY TO DO GOOD DEEDS Once I went to Paraguay and had a meal with the heads of the churches in Paraguay. I thought, “Our mealtime is only two hours. How should I preach the gospel to them during this time?” I motioned to the youngest pastor there and asked him a question. “Do you tell your congregation to do good deeds?” He replied, “Yes.” I told him, “Jesus asked if you can gather figs from thistles, or pick grapes from a briar. What he meant was thistles can never grow figs, and a briar can
Sermon of the Month
never grow grapes. Likewise, we, humans, are a sin tree. How can we do good deeds? It is written in the Bible that no one does good deeds. Pastor, do you believe that a person can do good deeds?” He was surprised and couldn’t answer me. In Romans 7, Apostle Paul said that there is no good in man; therefore, man can look good, but cannot do good deeds. People have to receive the grace of Jesus’ salvation because there is no goodness in them. The reason they can’t live a spiritual life is because they try to do good deeds. I SHOULD NOT TRUST IN MYSELF There was an incident in 1962 that changed my life. I took a test in May of that year to apply to be a tech sergeant but I failed. I didn’t know much because I grew up in the countryside, but I thought I was okay compared to my friends. I discovered my true self for the first time when I failed the test. I started to
think, “I’m actually hopeless, but I thought I was somebody. I see how that judgment was wrong. I will fail if I follow that judgment.” Afterwards, the thought that I was somebody broke into pieces, and I precisely knew that I should not trust in myself. That is when spiritual life became very easy. It’s extremely easy to fly to the US, but it’s impossible to get there by swimming. One must think of purchasing a plane ticket even though one might not have enough money. Similarly, if we read the Bible, pray, and try to stand before God with our devotion according to our thoughts, that’s not a proper attitude towards spiritual life. We must throw that heart away and receive the grace of God. BRING FORTH THE BEST ROBE AND PUT IT ON HIM I strongly feel that God is leading me into His world through His life, His power, and His righteousness and Sermon • 21
To put on the same righteousness as Jesus, we must take off our own righteousness, goodness, and holiness. If we don’t, we can’t put it on. not through my own. In Luke 15, the father was heartbroken to see his younger son wearing worn out rags. Thus, the first thing the father said was to bring out the best robe and put it on him. That’s illustrating the heart of God watching our hearts. What would the servants do? They would take the son to the bathroom. First, they would take off his rags. Only then could he be washed and wear new clothes. New clothes can never be put on top of the rags. God would say, “I want to clothe you with my holiness, righteousness, and truthfulness. In order to do that, you 22 • The Good News May 2012
must first take off your own truthfulness, goodness, and holiness.” We might look clean in our eyes, but our goodness is like rags in the eyes of God. That is why the father (God) said, “Bring forth the best robe and put it on him.” In other words, it means, “Take off those rags.” To put on the same righteousness as Jesus, we must take off our own goodness, righteousness, and holiness. If we don’t, we can’t put it on. We cannot live a spiritual life because we do good deeds according to our standards and mix them with the righteousness of God. PEOPLE WHO HAVE THEIR OWN WAY I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. (John 5:30) We make an effort to do good deeds and keep the Law, but Jesus said that He can do nothing on His own.
Sermon of the Month
Thinking Jesus can do things on His own is contradicting God directly. Jesus could not do anything on His own; therefore, He was able to do everything by receiving the power of God. Yet we think he can still do some things on his own. The greatest reason we can’t live a powerful life like Jesus is because we are deceived by the thoughts Satan gives us. We have our own way when we think we can do something to a certain extent and do good deeds if we try. It’s all because we don’t follow God’s way. Ultimately, we are unable to do anything because God does not work in us.
one must be cautious of the water there. Because coconut water is fresh, it is fun to experience the jungle traveling with coconuts loaded in the car. I once entered the jungle with an 18-year-old young man, but I was afraid to the point of regretting that I came there. That young man climbed a coconut tree and told me to step back. He was kicking the coconuts from the tree and I was alone on the ground in fear. If a leopard or lion had come along at that time, it would have eaten me
WHEN WE CANNOT DO ANYTHING ON OUR OWN I have been to the jungles in Africa. I always drink bottled water, canned cola, or coconut water when I go to Africa because Sermon • 23
If in their heart they can’t do anything like Jesus, they will only rely on God and will become people that can do anything as the power of God enters them. without a fight. I had to follow him and do everything he told me because I knew nothing about the jungle. You have your own way in trying to live through your judgment and experience that you naturally gain in life. However, if you precisely know who you are, you will live according to God’s will because you cannot do anything on your own. You will seek God’s help if you feel in your heart, “God, I’m not good at praying, I can’t rear my children well, I’m not good at witnessing, and I’m not good at giving offerings.” The power of God will be manifested in you when 24 • The Good News May 2012
you read the Bible and pray through the strength of God, and when you have faith that God is helping you. 100% BY THE MERIT OF JESUS It’s burdensome and difficult for some people to live by faith after being saved. What is the cause of this? It’s because they try to live by their methods and not through God’s. And what’s worse is that they think it’s acceptable to live that way. If in their heart they are not able to do anything like Jesus, they will only rely on God and will become people that can do anything as the power of God enters them. However, faith in God does not form because we are deceived by Satan to think that it will be okay if we just do it outwardly. That’s why the Bible says we receive forgiveness of sins 100% by the merit of Jesus because we cannot do good deeds or keep the Law. We are able to believe that Jesus washed our sins away if we
Sermon of the Month
precisely discover that we are evil and cannot live spiritual life or do anything on our own. Many people today attend church but they try to do well to receive the forgiveness of sins and they try to receive grace by keeping the Law and doing good deeds. That is why they live spiritual life as a mere formality. A BLESSED LIFE LED BY THE LORD I know for sure as I look back at my past that whenever the impossible became possible, it was God who did it. It wasnâ€™t me. Nothing I did ever went well. As I gradually realized how useless I am, I believed in the words of Jesus that I
cannot do anything on my own. I am changing bit by bit into a person who professes the same. Beloved brothers and sisters, living according to your will and living with Jesus taking charge and leading you is completely different. We lived a shameful, filthy, and wicked life all this time according to our will and thoughts. Please realize that you are useless and commit your family, your future, your children, and all your problems to Jesus. I hope that you can realize deep in your heart that you cannot do anything on your own and become a powerful person like Jesus through the grace of God.
Pastor Ock Soo Park Senior Pastor of Good News Gangnam Church Chief Advisor of International Youth Fellowship (IYF) www.ocksoopark.com Sermon â€˘ 25
2012 Bible Crusade Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15
Q: How does this year compare to last year’s Bible Crusade in terms of preparation, What did you do differently this year while witnessing for the Bible Crusade? Pastor Yeong Kook Park said, “Let’s just go out and preach the gospel regardless of how many people may come. God will send many people to the Bible Crusade!” Then he said, “In Samuel 2, David carried the ark of the tabernacle from Obed-Edom to the city of David. They carried it on their shoulders and had to keep it level. So, the taller people bear26 • The Good News May 2012
ing the ark had to lower themselves in order to cooperate with the others and go forward at the same pace.” We received pastor’s heart and prepared many things together. Before, we were focused on the outcome of the Crusade. But this time we believed we already gained many people by faith. Q: Why did you have the Cantata twice this year? Originally, we were only going to have the Christmas Cantata on the last day of the Bible Crusade. However, we changed our plan and
decided to have it on the first day, too, because we felt people would listen better to the Word with their hearts opened after attending the Cantata. More than that, we wanted to pour our hearts into witnessing. Last year, we just handed out booklets to people. This year, we set up 24 tables at different locations with a wider variety of spiritual books to borrow. We sent invitations to the people of Brooklyn. Inside the envelopes we put a flyer, a booklet, a Christmas Cantata ticket, and a letter. Many people brought the letters to the Bible Crusade and showed their thankfulness. Q: How was the Hispanic pastor’s meeting with pastor Ock Soo Park? We invited Hispanic
church pastors and had fellowship with them. They wanted to host Bible conferences with us in the future. Also, they wanted to work together to solve youth problems. Many pastors came to the Easter Cantata and some of them even received salvation as well. I felt strongly that God prepared this and led us so far. Q: We will have the Bible Crusade again. What is your vision for next year? Next year we want to receive a new heart for the Gospel. We don’t want to rely on the same methods we used previously. We lacked in everything from witnessing to having Bible studies with people. We want to receive grace and wisdom for those things. (from Pastor David Ki) Zoom In • 27
When a Cup Is Full, It Cannot Hold Anything
was on my way home from the bank when I saw some David Elijah Korean missionaries. I went to go talk to them and they asked me if I have sin and I told them that I’m a sinner. They said that God’s Son died for me, but I still kept telling them that 28 • The Good News May 2012
I’m a sinner. Then they invited me to the Bible Crusade. I listened to the Word of God at the Bible Crusade. I was able to understand but I still kept holding onto my own thoughts. Then I said to God, “Are you saying something to me that I am not listening to?” On the second night of the service, I said to God again, “Are you trying to say some-
thing to me, but I cannot listen nor hear? I do not get it.” Two nights later, it hit me during service. When a cup is full, it cannot hold anything. You have to pour everything out in order to receive something new. That’s when I understood. When I can throw away this one thought and forget about myself, that’s when I can receive this new message. This is when I received salvation. Before, in my heart, I felt burden about repenting for my wrongdoings. Others would ask me how a Christian could behave like that. Afterwards, I always felt ashamed of myself and towards God. I repented not only from my attitude, but also from myself. I had to let go of myself and let Christ
work in my life. In Romans it says, “When you were a sinner, you were free from righteousness. Now that you have received Christ, you are free from sin.” I understand that I don’t have to try to be good. I just have to believe in God because God has already forgiven my sins, so now I can freely live. That is the difference between this church and my old church. At my old church, I was taught to repent to God whenever I did something wrong over and over again. Now I fully understand that Christ died once and for all. He really cleansed me. I am free from sin once and for all. I have no baggage of guilt or sin. In my heart, I want to preach this gospel to everyone. Zoom In • 29
The Three-Legged Stool
“Yes, indeed! there could be no two opinions about it, the stool had seen its best days, and must soon come to the fire.” So thought its owner, an old woman, little suspecting how important a part her old stool had yet to play in her history. It was a very old stool, and she was a very old woman; and somehow there was a link in this very fact between them, so that though she had often threatened as above, she could never bring herself to accomplish the dire sentence. It had been in her family for many a day; aye, long before she was born. As a little girl she had sat upon in by the fire. It had done its duty well. It 30 • The Good News May 2012
had been scrubbed and sanded, and sanded and scrubbed, until it was quite worn, and showed furrows upon its surface, as if lined with age. But its old face shone again still, in keeping with the rest of that little cottage, for its owner was a thrifty old soul. Yet, really she began to be ashamed of it. It was so worm-eaten, and began to be shaky on its legs too, that— and there it ended; for she had grown to look on the old thing as a sort of companion, so nothing came of her threat. Mr. Pennefather of Mildmay, then the clergyman of the parish in which this old woman lived, was very much concerned about her. Not that
Words of Wisdom
she was a wicked old woman, with a loud tongue and meddling manner, for she was, on the contrary, a highly respectable and most religious creature. Blew it hot or cold, was it wet or dry, did it rain or snow, it mattered little; for sure as the church door was open, on ordinary or extraordinary occasions, there old Betty was to be found. First in her seat she had said her prayers, smoothed her hair, composed her features, and was ready to look round patronizingly and selfapprovingly on the congregation as it slowly filed in. And then, when service began, she was in her element! Her voice led in the responses. She stood or knelt with the nicest exact-
ness, in accordance with rule. During the sermon, she was all attentionâ€”she never slept in church! Nodding approval at this, smiling complacently at that, deeply sighing as the sins of others were mentioned, for, in her opinion, hers was too blameless a life to have need of thought for herself in this respect. But what about the stool, and the important part it has to play? Well, this is how it came to pass. The clergyman was sitting in his study one Small Talk â€˘ 31
afternoon, conversing with a gentleman who was on a visit with him, a well-known servant of God, and one wise to win souls. “Let us pray for her, and I will then go down and see her,” was his friend’s rejoinder. He was shown the house; and he went in, just as Betty was putting away her tea things, for she was early in this respect also. She curtseyed low. Would the gentleman take a seat, though it was a poor place enough for the likes of him to come into, looking contentedly round on her neat little room the while. He thanked her, begged she would be seated also, that he had just come from his friend, Mr. Pennefather, and would like to have a little talk with her, he had heard she liked 32 • The Good News May 2012
good things. In short, he set her so entirely at her ease, that she launched forth at once on her favourite topic, and gave him a long account of her good life, her prayers, her works; reflecting on the difference between herself and others, who were not so particular. He listened quietly, not needing to say aught; waiting, like a wise man, until she had quite run the length of her cable. When a pause in her flow of language seemed to ask for a word of approval, her visitor simply raised his hand suggestively, and pointed with his forefinger to the old, wellworm, worm-eaten, threelegged stool, sitting silently by the fireside. Following the direction indicated, and seeing the article he pointed
Words of Wisdom
out, she began a long apology. Indeed, the gentleman might well think it was good for nothing, a worn-out, worthless old stool. She had said, many’s the time, it should be broke up, and put behind the fire, it was “fit for nothing else.” At this words, the gentleman raised his eyes, his finger still pointing to the stool; and looking into hers, said, deliberately and solemnly, “’Fit for nothing else!’ My dear woman, you are just like that three-legged stool.” I let the reader imagine what words would fail to depict the effect produced on that self-satisfied, selfrighteous, old woman’s mind and face, as she heard herself, and her condition, compared
to “that three-legged stool.” She gasped for breath—surely her ears deceived her! She! “Like—that—three-legged— stool!” only fit for the fire! No! there was no mistake; that finger steadily pointing, that face looking calmly on hers, dispelled any doubt on the subject. Her pride was wounded. It was the reverse of what she had expected, and been prepared to hear. Were all her “good hopes,” cherished for years, thus to totter and fall? Small Talk • 33
Totter they did. After he’d gone, she turned in her ire towards the innocent cause of it all—the three-legged stool. And her fury increased as she looked at it; sitting there so provokingly quiet, as if regarding her maliciously, and silently acquiescing in the words just uttered. “From Death—unto Life,” She could stand its silent preaching no longer; she must have some vent for her indignation. There a Mrs. White living next door, a truly humble, converted Christian woman; and one who was ever ready to sympathise with, and help the troubled. In to her ran Betty crying like a spoilt child that has been robbed of its plaything. She told of her visitor. “He calls hisself a gentleman, and a friend of the 34 • The Good News May 2012
parson’s! Like enough the parson didn’t know what sort he was a comin’ down there, and callin’ of her all kinds of bad things. And Mrs. White knew what good woman she’d been, all’us attendin’ church reg’lar and a doin’ of the best she could to get to Heaven, like a proper Christian. For him to go for to say as how she was ‘no better not an old threelegged stool.’ Oh dear! oh dear! she’d had such a turn; she didn’t know how she’d get over it.” Her neighbour just let her run on; listening kindly and patiently to the oft-repeated and, by this time, well-known history of poor Betty’s wonderful well-doing, praying unceasingly that indeed the Spirit of God would use this untoward event to show her
Words of Wisdom
the end of herself and her own righteousness. She sat by her neighbour’s fire until late; afraid to confront the three-legged stool; though not allowing to herself that this was her reason for stopping. When she went in, she hurriedly lit her candle, and went upstairs, without permitting herself to glance in the direction of the stool. Poor thing! she was quite worn with the worry of her mind. She began to weep, and bitter, bitter tears, true tears of sorrow and remorse, now filled her eyes. Her loud sobs and cries for mercy aroused her neighbor from next door, who ran in to see what was the matter. “Matter! oh; matter enough, neighbour. What a wicked sinner I be! And I
never to have seen it—never. A thinkin’ I was so good and religious, me that has been so full of pride. And all the time turnin’ my back on Christ, and thinkin’ I didn’t need to be converted, that was so good. Who would have thought it was to be all along of that old stool, a stout-hearted, self-righteous sinner like me, was to be broke down! Oh, neighbour, tell me, is there mercy for me?” Sitting up in her bed, she drank in the words her neighbour spoke; and then and there, sinner as she was, she believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, and was saved. Early the next morning Betty wended her way to the vicarage, and told her rejoicing hearers how the Lord had had mercy on the old hypocrite. (J.C. Rainey) Small Talk • 35
The Illusion of Good and Evil
Eddie Pennoyer Pastor, Good News Central Church in LA
hroughout history, a variety of assumptions that were held to be true were eventually proven to be false. The effects of these shifts in perception have at times caused profound changes in our world view. This change is sometimes described as a “paradigm shift.” A paradigm is a world view that shapes the way we understand the world in which we live. A 36 • The Good News May 2012
paradigm shift occurs when the dominant paradigm is replaced by a new paradigm. The shift from “geocentrism” to “heliocentrism” is an example of this type of change. The “geocentric” model in which the Earth was the center of the universe was the popularly held paradigm or world view of Western civilizations for a long period of time. It was taken to be true by the masses because of the simple fact that people
didn’t observe that the Earth was spinning on its axis as it orbited the Sun so much as the Sun seemed to be spinning around them. This geocentric world view was more efficient to casual observers because they didn’t perceive otherwise. Closer examination does however reveal certain inconsistencies which most casual observers didn’t realize like the fact that the Sun makes a slower circle eastward over the course of
a year and that the planets have similar motions, but they sometimes move in the reverse direction for a while (retrograde motion). As astronomers became increasingly aware of these seemingly aberrant motions, more elaborate descriptions were required, the most famous of which was the geocentric Ptolemaic system. Although the Ptolemaic system was capable of calculating the positions of the planDiscussion Topic • 37
ets to a fair degree, it was overly complex and cumbersome because of its basic assumption that the earth was stationary. Ptolemy himself admitted however that the
simplest method for arriving at the same result would be ideal. In 1610, Galileo used a telescope to observe Jupiter and its many moons. He saw that the various moons kept a constant orbit around Jupiter. This observation coincided with the notion that the Moon also orbited Earth and Earth orbited the Sun, ideas that Nicolas Copernicus put forth in his “heliocentric” model of the universe some sixty years before. Copernicus’ theory 38 • The Good News May 2012
was not published until his death though he had worked for many years to perfect it. He seemed to be wary of the possible ridicule that his radically different theory might invite. Ironically, it was largely unread and there was not much reaction to it positive or negative. However, when Galileo’s observations led him to concur with Copernicus’ theory, a controversy ensued. Galileo was found “vehemently suspect of heresy,” forced to recant his affirmation of the heliocentric model, and was placed under house arrest to live the rest of his life as a prisoner. During the transition from one paradigm to another, there was a clash between proponents of the new model and adherents of the old. What distinguished the two groups? The minority expert observers were not concerned with finding data that fit their assumptions, but rather trying to find the assumptions that would
fit the data. However, the majority of casual observers were focused on maintaining their assumptions as fact. If they were confronted with data that didn’t fit their assumption, they sought to discredit its validity or ignore it altogether. Because human beings know the world in which they live through their ability to perceive it, when their perceptions change, their knowledge changes. In philosophical discussions of the truth, there are those that argue truth is immutable and objective while others argue that it is merely a construct of human consciousness and is subjective. Those seeking an objective truth are usually aware that their perception of it is just that, a perception and not reality. For them, there is a preference for efficiency and simplicity of understanding regardless of whether it is different or similar to the existing assumption. If the new idea is
simpler and is shown to be true in more applications, it should be exchanged. There is no condemnation for believing a “false” assumption, but rather a satisfaction of having a better perception. The dynamic change and flow of knowledge leads to discovery and learning. This type of knowledge system is outward looking and not self absorbed or self acknowledging. The quest for truth is greater than the conceit of it. However, when one is seeking knowledge for the sake of validating and establishing the status quo, innovation and discovery are compromised, and learning becomes a means of imposing dogma. This type of knowledge system is inward looking and self absorbed. It cannot grow because it does not acknowledge any perspective or authority that is different from itself. Truth is merely a means to a self acknowledging end. Although there may be a pretense of ultimate truth, the truth is Discussion Topic • 39
subordinated to the purpose of establishing and validating the keepers of the tradition. In Romans 10:1-3, Paul writes, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” Paul was once named Saul and persecuted Christians because of his belief as a Pharisee that Christ and his followers were espousing heresy. Being zealous for his faith, Saul was convinced that God was pleased by him persecuting heretics. One day, however, Saul saw the Light. Jesus Christ appeared to him in the form of a bright light that blinded him. A voice spoke to Paul and said, “… Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And 40 • The Good News May 2012
he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.” Paul once only tried to establish his own righteousness but this put him at odds with God, whom he professed to believe. When he was faced with knowledge that he could not deny, Jesus himself speaking to him, he changed his position and began to champion the very faith which he once persecuted. Although Paul’s experience may seem unique in that he actually met Jesus on the road to Damascus, everyone who comes to have the faith of Jesus Christ undergoes a similar transformation. Although people may think they believe in God, very few are able to explain
what they believe or when they began to believe it. Paul, on the other hand, has a clear understanding of both. He lived under a false assumption of having faith in God and later found that he didn’t. That’s when he had to decide to either accept the truth and deny himself or accept his false assumption as true and deny Jesus. Thankfully he chose to accept the truth and deny himself. Christians as well must be able to distinguish between when they went from unbelief into faith. However many just think they have always believed because they were raised in church or because they nev-
er found out that they didn’t believe. Jesus didn’t come to save us from doing evil deeds but rather from unbelief in God. Genesis 6:5 states, And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. If every imagination of the thoughts of man’s heart is only evil continually, as this verse states, then regardless of our deeds, God would not be able to accept us. God is a spirit and doesn’t look at the outward appearance of man but rather the heart. If God looks
Discussion Topic • 41
at the heart of man there is nothing that we can rely on to please God. This means that we must be saved. If man’s thoughts are only evil continually, then it is not his evil deeds that are the problem, it is his unbelief. Romans 11:32 says, For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. The challenge then is not to behave in a way that is suitable to God because our unbelief makes all of our ways unsuitable, but rather it is to repent. True repentance is not expressing one’s regret for committing evil deeds; it is to acknowledge the actual problem of sin between us and God. True repentance is to acknowledge that we have not believed in God but rather believed in ourselves. People who believe in themselves believe that they can do good deeds and that God will acknowledge them. Such a person doesn’t believe in God whether they know it or not. However, most people 42 • The Good News May 2012
who say they believe in God think this way. This type of thinking is in total opposition to the very existence of Christ. Christ did not die for us because we can do the right thing. We must first acknowledge that we are worthy of death not because we did evil deeds, but because we did not believe God. While most people are willing to confess their evil deeds, very few have ever confessed their unbelief in God because they were always living under the false assumption that they did. Paul is our example of coming into the faith of Jesus Christ by finding true repentance. He came to realize that he actually didn’t believe in God as he thought he did. Paul was able to make a shift from trying to establish his righteousness to receiving the righteousness of God by faith in Jesus Christ. That shift was accomplished when he was able to deny himself and his thoughts. Jesus said, “…If
any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25) Ultimately, the Pharisees were enemies of God whom they tried to serve not because their deeds were evil, but because they were able to believe in the illusion of good and evil. They thought they could do good and eschew evil. Although their intentions were good, they denied Jesus because they didn’t realize they needed to be saved. It’s difficult for Christians today to imagine how this happened but many of them are being deceived in the same way by their conscience. Through their “knowledge” of good and evil, or in other words their conscience, they assumed they were capable of being good and not doing evil. Without realizing it, they were denying Jesus just as
Paul said in Romans 10:2-3, For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. In other words, even though we were trying to believe in God, because we were ignorant of God’s righteousness, we tried to be good and not do evil. Please let go of the heart to establish your own righteousness. Regardless of how long or how often you have attended church, or read the Bible, or prayed, or paid tithes and offerings, none of these things matter unless you have found out that you have not actually believed in God because you believed in yourself. Please find true repentance so that the righteousness of God by faith in Jesus Christ may be established rather than your own righteousness by your deeds. Discussion Topic • 43
we witness to. My pastor also said we had to pray for lunch. Immediately, I thought: “God must want me to starve today…” I didn’t think God could provide for me, especially since I was so faithless. After breakfast, we began witnessing at Virginia Tech. When my witnessing partner told me to witness to a student eating lunch, I was terrified. I didn’t like talking to strangers and I was afraid of rejection and curse. But then I remembered the verse in Matthew that God gave me before the trip. Putting down my thoughts, I went to the student and started asking him about what he thinks of church, and heaven and hell. Amazingly he opened his heart to us. I felt that this was one of the people God had prepared. When we were done at Virginia Tech, we went to the town we went to the other day. I was full of complaints in my heart because I remembered the unpleasant witnessing experience last night. But totally different from my thought, it was bright with many people walking the
streets. With the heart of not wanting to let the person God prepared slip away, I had an open heart to anyone. We met so many homeless people that were so willing to listen. From three p.m., I became hungrier every minute. Then my witnessing partner said the student from Virginia Tech invited us to dinner. I was so happy he had invited us. I was thankful God opened his heart. As we finished up, with donations from other groups, we got so much Chinese food. It was truly a graceful lunch. Even though the student could not understand the Gospel, I believe he was a student God prepared and will open his heart. It isn’t me or anyone else who can open his heart for him. Within that day, I saw God really could work through me and through this experience I received so much grace and thankfulness.
Jenny Weiss Good News Washington Church
Testimony • 45
Let’s Live like the 3rd Captain of Fifty
Our goals, opinions, views, arrogance, and haughtiness depart when the heart of God flows into us. People led by God emptied their hearts and so they didn’t have their own will. On the other hand, if we are connected to Satan like the two captains of fifty, we’ll be busy putting forth our thoughts and opinions and won’t be able to throw away our arrogant and haughty hearts. They bring suffering and sorrow to us and make us unable to keep misery and curse from coming.
46 • The Good News May 2012
Iron Sharpeneth Iron
She went to her group teacher and told her in detail how she lived. She heard the gospel from her teacher the very same day and received salvation.
HOW A WORLD CAMP VOLUNTEER CHANGED A student attended the camp as a volunteer last summer and received salvation. After the camp, she came to church and gave a testimony. I listened as she told how she lived a deprived life. Seeds of discord sprouted between her parents. Her father started bringing home a woman and her mother left because she couldn’t take it. Her family was no longer one at heart, and they lived their own separate lives. She became a video game addict in middle school because she had no one to share her heart with. Later, she stopped going
to school and played video games all day long. Her life was taking a turn in the wrong direction. She started to steal alcohol from the convenience store and live a truly dissolute existence. Her life had no direction. One day, her mother pleaded, “What are you going to become living like this? I have just one request. Please take the GED.” After listening to her mother’s earnest plea, she turned over a new leaf and started to study. She passed her GED and was accepted into a university. Then last summer, she applied as a World Camp volunteer after receiving a pamphlet on campus. She went to her group teacher and told her in detail how she lived. She heard the gospel from her teacher the very same day and received salvation. After the World Camp, she cried as she testified in church how her life completely changed after receiving salvation. My eyes watered as I listened to her Sermon • 47
The majority of people are suffering from something. Some are caught up in gambling, some in carnal desires, and some in strange ideas that are untrue.
testimony and I was truly grateful. WHO IS DRAGGING YOU? The student I introduced in the beginning was addicted to video games during her adolescence because of her difficult home environment. The reasons may differ for each individual, but the majority of people are suffering from something. Some are caught up in gambling, some in carnal desires, and some in strange ideas that are untrue. There is a story in 2 Kings 1 about three captains and their fifty who 48 â€˘ The Good News May 2012
were sent by King Ahaziah to find Elijah. Two captains and their fifty men were killed with fire. Why did they die such a miserable death? If we just think about this a little more, we can find that a certain force led them to their deaths. The first fifty were led by their captain. What about the captain? He was led by King Ahaziah. What about King Ahaziah? He was led by his father, King Ahab. And who led Ahab? If we search the Bible for Ahab, it is written that he sold himself to sin. As a person sold to sin, Ahab was dragged by Satan. Ultimately, the two captains and their fifty that were burned to death were dragged by Satan. We can discover in the Bible the truth we cannot see with our eyes and discover the evil one that is dragging people. I DIDNâ€™T KNOW WHY SUFFERING ALWAYS CAME TO ME Two captains were led by an
Iron Sharpeneth Iron
evil power to bring death upon themselves and their soldiers. I saw how I used to bring suffering and difficulties to my life like those two captains. Who would want to live like that? Nobody wants to bring suffering, misery, and curse into their lives. I too hate living that way but I was powerless to keep the bad things from coming. I hated it but pain and suffering often came. I didn’t know why these things happened. I was determined, cautious, and on my best behavior thinking, “I’m not going to go through this again!” However, difficulty and pain would come back as time passed. I continued to experience these things without knowing why. It was a difficult time in my life. One day, Pastor Ock Soo Park spoke to me about Uzzah. Uzzah was thoughtless and acted on impulse.
That was why curse came to Uzzah. In retrospect, I lived just like Uzzah. I was always thoughtless and acted on impulse. The first captain, in 2 Kings 1, went to Elijah in the hill after listening to King Ahaziah. He told Elijah, “The king hath said, Come down,” and the second captain told him, “Thus hath the king said, Come down quickly.” These two people didn’t think seriously; they just asserted their thoughts and opinions. They were arrogant and haughty to think they could compel the servant of God so that they could accomplish their
Sermon • 49
I continued to live a dark life because I didn’t know the reason. But as I heard about Uzzah, I discovered my life within his. At last I found out why I had to face pain and difficulty.
own objectives. It is written in Proverbs 16, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall,” and in James 4, “God resisteth the proud.” The captains and their fifty in 2 Kings 1 were the royal bodyguards. They turned into people that acted rashly on impulse and didn’t think seriously because they were backed by the king’s authority. I lived thoughtlessly acting on impulse because I was arrogant and haughty. That’s why pain came to my life. The stones aimed at the woman caught in adultery in John 8, dropped to the ground. The misery, pain, 50 • The Good News May 2012
and curse she was supposed to face ended as she entered Jesus. However misery and pain didn’t end for me but continued because I was dragged by Satan. I continued to live a dark life because I didn’t know the reason. But as I heard about Uzzah, I discovered my life within his. At last I found out why I had to face pain and difficulty. As I saw how Uzzah was killed for living such a life, his death became my death. WE WERE ALREADY SOLD TO SIN The third captain was different from the other two captains—he sought for his and his fifty servants’ lives. He wasn’t arrogant and he didn’t assert his thoughts without regard to Elijah. Rather, he knelt down seeking mercy, “O man of God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be precious in thy sight.” The image of the three captains of fifty in 2 Kings 1 illustrates the image of
Iron Sharpeneth Iron
our souls. Some are ruined whereas others receive life. Some call misery upon themselves whereas others steer clear of misery. Who calls misery upon themselves and are ruined? They are people that hold on to their own goals and thoughts. In other words, people who are alive to themselves. We are led by Satan as long as we are alive to ourselves. There is a story about Samson and Delilah in Judges 16. The Philistines bribed Delilah with eleven hundred pieces of silver to kill Samson. Every action taken by Delilah from then on was to kill Samson. Treating him well was just an act to kill him. Just as Delilah was sold to the Philistines, we are already sold to sin. For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. (Romans 7:14)
This is why we are led by Satan. We want to do well, but we are already sold to sin. Thus, things donâ€™t go according to our wishes. Just as every action taken by Delilah was to kill Samson, everything we do is evil and goes against God.
RETURN TO GOD FROM THE POWER OF SATAN To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. (Acts 26:18) As it is written in this verse, we must return to God from the power of Satan. As I said earlier, I used to bring misery
Sermon â€˘ 51
When the heart of God flows into someone, their purposes, opinions, views, arrogance, and haughtiness leave them. God leads such people.
and difficulty upon myself. I didn’t want to live that way but it continued. As long as we are under the power of Satan, we cannot change and we cannot avoid misery no matter how hard we try. That’s how I lived my life, but one day I discovered something. I found out that I was wrong like Uzzah and saw how his end turned out to be death. I was able to throw myself away as I heard about Uzzah because his death became my death. I returned to God from the power of Satan. Satan used to drag me in the past, but now I see God leading me and blessing my life. 52 • The Good News May 2012
THOSE THAT ARE CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST What is the difference between the two captains and the third captain? The first two captains were arrogant and haughty because they were connected to Satan. They didn’t think seriously but asserted their own purpose and opinion. The third captain didn’t assert his purpose or opinion. He knelt down before the man of God and sought grace and mercy. We can see that he didn’t have his own purpose or opinion. When the heart of God flows into someone, their purposes, opinions, views, arrogance, and haughtiness leave them. God leads such people. People led by God have emptied their hearts; therefore, they do not have their own will. On the other hand, if people are connected to Satan like the two captains of fifty were, they will be busy putting forth their thoughts and opinions, and will not be able to
Iron Sharpeneth Iron
throw away their arrogant and haughty heart. Such people bring suffering and sorrow upon themselves, and they are not able to keep misery and curse from coming. There are people who are swindled out of their money. What sorts of people are swindled? People that have money are swindled. If they don’t have any money, they cannot be deceived. Likewise, people that are crucified with Christ cannot be dragged by Satan. God leads people that are dead to themselves. God uses such people according to His will to His heart’s content because they don’t have their own purpose or will. Thus, He is able to accomplish
amazing and glorious things through them. I hope the amazing works and grace of God overflow in us as we cross over to the life of the third captain from the life of the two evil captains. I hope many people that meet us can become happy as they receive life and joy through Jesus.
Pastor Young-joon Park Senior Pastor of Busan Daeyeon Church Sermon • 53
We Are Already at the River
Joshua was no longer filthy, due to the mercy of God. The same goes for us. We are no longer sinners, we are no longer Abram, and we are no longer people that fall back into perdition. Regardless of our image, we are righteous; regardless of our circumstances, we are Abraham; and we are people that believe to the saving of the soul. Now, we must know that we have become saints that are more than conquerors in all things through Him that loved us.
A SINNER ASKS FOR FORGIVENESS WITH TEARS An anonymous person posted something that seemed like a prayer on the internet: “God! Oh how you loved me! I’m living today through your love. But why am I not 54 • The Good News May 2012
able to live according to your Words? Why is that? Why am I not able to live a clean life you desire but sin every day?” After meeting God, this sinner tried very hard to live according to the Word of God but was not able to. “God, you saved me. How
Admonition of the Lord
They struggle because they think they can live according to the Words if they try. Even though they may struggle for many years, their spiritual image has not changed.
am I supposed to live a life that is according to your will? I sing hymns every day and have the heart to love God, but it breaks my heart that I dare not draw closer to the Lord because my heart is filled with filthy thoughts. Lord, please forgive this sinner. Oh how I love you, God! Lord, you saved me.â€? Even today, this sinner asks for forgiveness with tears. This is an image of a typical religious person. The majority of Christians pray such a prayer as they live spiritual life. They struggle because they think they can live according to the Words if they try harder, pray, fast, and repent. Even though they may struggle for ten or twenty years,
their spiritual image has not changed. They are still filthy, shameful sinners. HOW MUCH FURTHER UNTIL WE REACH THE AMAZON RIVER? The Word of God is like the sentencing of a judge. Let us see what is written there: In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight. (Colossians 1:22) For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. (Hebrews 10:14) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:23-24) It is written in the Word of God that Jesus Christ perfectly washed away our sins on the cross and gave us true rest. We no longer need to do anything to have our sins forgiven. It is written that He has done everything. Yet many people still Sermon â€˘ 55
Jesus Christ already cleansed our sins whiter than snow, yet many people are still in sin because they are ignorant of that fact.
say, “Lord, I am a sinner. Please forgive me.” They have no rest or freedom before God because they don’t know the Word of God that has already perfected them: For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. (Romans 10:2-3) The Amazon River is very long and wide: its full length is 4,474 mi. It is responsible for 20% of the world’s fresh water flowing into the ocean. The 56 • The Good News May 2012
area of its basin alone is around forty times the size of South Korea. Its estuary is so large and wide that it is difficult to tell whether it is a river or an ocean. Once, a ship on a voyage encountered a storm and went off course. As the ship drifted, the crew suffered because they ran out of drinking water. As they decided to reach the estuary of the Amazon River to get drinking water, a ship just happened to pass by. The crew asked the people on the ship, “How much further until we reach the Amazon River?” The captain chuckled and said, “You are already at the Amazon. Just drink the water below you.” The ship was already at the Amazon, yet they didn’t realize it because the river was very wide. The ship was already at the river but they were suffering from thirst because they didn’t know. Likewise, Jesus Christ already cleansed our sins whiter than snow, yet many people are still in sin because they are ignorant of that fact.
Admonition of the Lord
CHILDLESS YET CALLED THE FATHER OF MANY NATIONS The life of a Christian is the same as receiving salvation. Among people that are saved, some have no freedom in their life even though they are freed from sin because they try to do well. They are tied down to the circumstances, the law, and their own image. On the other hand, people that are not saved think they need to attend early morning service, pray by fasting, pray all night, and do good deeds because they are lacking, filthy sinners. Even saved people without freedom in their life think they need to do something because they consider themselves lacking. Therefore, they make an effort and try to do well. If things don’t go as planned, they feel disappointed, lose their strength, and become gloomy. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. (Genesis 17:5) Abram was childless but
was renamed Abraham “father of many nations” because he believed in the Words and not his circumstances. The circumstances were an illusion but the Words were true. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (Romans 8:37) This is written in the Bible and it is true. However, many saved people live a lethargic spiritual life because they either look at themselves or at their circumstances; they are not held by the Words, but tied down to their circumstances and their weak image.
Sermon • 57
THERE WOULD BE LEFTOVERS FROM JUST TAKING THE BREAD Man started to look at himself after sinning, being deceived by Satan. The man used to be naked but was not ashamed. There was no need to hide or fear God. But when he sinned, he was no longer able to rest. Adam and Eve made aprons out of fig leaves to cover themselves, and they hid because they were afraid of God. There are many people today, just like Adam and Eve, who cover themselves by making an effort to look good before God. Such people have nothing to do with God. Jesus accomplished everything on the cross, but such people do not know that fact and
only look at their circumstances and weak image. It’s just like the chief baker who thought it wasn’t enough to serve Pharaoh only bread. Therefore, he went to Pharaoh with all manner of baked goods as well. Such are evil people that do not believe in God and will be cursed. The ship was already at the river, but the crew was thirsty because they didn’t know. Likewise, the Lord gave us freedom in all aspects, but there are many instances where we try to do well because we don’t know that fact. If we think we did well, we become arrogant; and if we didn’t do well, we fall back into perdition. Just the bread alone is enough and there will be leftovers, but people who think they have to do something more, think that the ministry of Jesus Christ is not enough. That is how much they ignore and make light of Jesus Christ. Ultimately, such people are denying that they believe in Jesus. PETER CAST OUT HUMAN WORKS Now there was at Joppa a cer-
58 • The Good News May 2012
Admonition of the Lord
tain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them. Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them. But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up (Acts 9:36-40). Many widows here asked Peter to save Tabitha telling him of the good works she did. Tabitha was full of good works and almsdeeds, and she was
complimented by the saints. However, Tabitha did not rise from the dead because of her good works. The widows thought God would listen to their prayers even more if they brought forth her good works, but Peter made everyone to leave the room, and he prayed. He prayed while seeking only God’s mercy. His prayer was answered, and all the saints were happy to see Tabitha alive. In this way, our happiness is having faith in the merciful God. However, many people do not receive grace and fail in their spiritual life because they go to God with their good works and effort. Just as unsaved people always confess to be sinners no matter how much good works they do, people who look at themselves always confess they are lacking, and they fall back into perdition. JOSHUA IS NO LONGER FILTHY “Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered Sermon • 59
and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by” (Zechariah. 3:3-5). Is Joshua wearing filthy garments or a clean, beautiful garment before God? Initially, he was wearing filthy garments, but having mercy, God took off Joshua’s filthy garments and clothed him with a beautiful garment. Joshua is no longer filthy but beautiful. Nevertheless, if Joshua says, “I am a filthy high priest! I cannot serve God! God will not accept the offerings I make,” God will be heartbroken. Unfortunately,
many people only look at their image and circumstances saying, “I can’t do it! I am lacking!” Joshua remained still; God cleansed his sin, clothed him with a beautiful garment, and made him able to carry out his priestly duties. Joshua didn’t do anything. There is no trace of him making an effort to become clean. Joshua is no longer filthy due to the mercy of God. He is a holy high priest who is able to render his services in God’s holy place. We are the same. We are no longer sinners, we are no longer Abram, and we are no longer people that fall back into perdition. Regardless of our image, we are righteous; regardless of our circumstances, we are Abraham; and we are people that believe to the saving of the soul. Now we must know that we have become saints that are more than conquerors in all things through Him that loved us.
Pastor Dong-sung Kim Senior Pastor of Good News Daegu Church 60 • The Good News May 2012
THE SECRET OF FORGIVENESS OF SIN AND BEING
BORN AGAIN A collection of sermons by Pastor Ock Soo Park. Forgiveness, which is the greatest gift that God has given us, is now revealed.
••CONTENTS•• 1. The Four Lepers 2. Jacob and Esau 3. Woman Caught in Adultery 4. The Man With an Infirmity for 38 Years 5. The Chief Butler and the Chief Baker 6. Eternal Redemption 7. Man Hit by Robbers 8. The Power of Samson 9. Cain and Abel
w ww.goo dnewsmission.net
Bridge of Faith
We Walk by Faith, Not by Sight
o celebrate one of the biggest holidays in Christianity, the Gracias Choir put on the Easter Cantata at the Mahanaim School and in several churches around New York. Pastor Yeong Kook Park mentioned that since Easter is in the spring, we should invite churches in New York and neighboring cities to hear the choir and listen to the Gospel. The 1-hour program would consist of a 40-minute performance and a 20-minute sermon titled “The Easter Package.” Pastor Park said, “Until now we were trying to preach the Gospel by bringing 62 • The Good News May 2012
Americans to us, but instead, let’s approach the American churches ourselves and preach the Gospel.” Through the heart of God, we did the Christmas Cantata Tour last year as well as Easter concerts in several churches. Being in charge of the work, I was burdened at first and began doubting that American churches would accept us. However, throughout the preparation we received the Word of God, which says, For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7). Upon receiving this word, we had the heart that God was pleased with this work and we were
Bridge of Faith
We were very thankful because we saw how God worked when we started this through His will, rather than being focused on the number of attendees. connected with the churches that God prepared. Several teams were divided to visit the churches in Long Island and Manhattan every Sunday to introduce other pastors to the choir and the Easter Concert. Without knowing how they would respond, we continued to prepare for the concerts. Several Hispanic and American churches were connected. As we visited various churches in preparation for this concert, we were very thankful and hopeful because we saw how God worked when we started this through His will, rather than being focused on the number of attendees so far. 64 â€˘ The Good News May 2012
The first performance was on March 17th at Iglesia de Dios de La Profecia, a Hispanic church that was connected to ours last year. The brothers and sisters invited their family and friends, who filled the seats and listened to the music of the choir and heard the Gospel. We were very thankful seeing delight on the faces of the many people there. The following performance was at The River of Life Church. The pastor of that church mentioned that his friend was a pastor at another church and that he wanted the Gracias Choir to perform at his church as well. Through the introduction of the first pastor, we were able to hold a music concert at the other church too.
e felt that those who have not had the chance to listen to the Gospel were able to through this event. In order to get to the final performance in New York, the Choir had to travel
from Canada all night on the bus without rest. Conductor Eun Sook Park asked, “Are you tired? Can you imagine the people sitting there? Isn’t there power soaring up within you when you think of the opportunity to preach the gospel to them?” And so, on April 8, 2012, the Easter Cantata was finally held at the Mahanaim School in New York. Pastor Elizabeth Montoya attended the event along with 25 members and now, a couple from among them are preparing to enroll for the fall semester of the Mahanaim Theology School. Additionally, Pastor Jose Martinez attended the event along with 30 of his members. We can see that all the preparation for this Easter Concert was for the Gospel; searching for and visiting churches, the staff preparing with all their hearts, and the choir members practicing constantly and pouring all of their hearts without rest—all for the gospel. We were thankful because after
the message that was delivered following the concert, we were able to preach to those Americans who celebrate Easter without knowing its true meaning. We shared about the true meaning of the resurrection and about Jesus who saved us from sin and became victorious through His resurrection. This year, the brothers and sisters gathered their hearts together in prayer for the establishment of 30 churches, for the Spanish church pastors’ committee, as well as for the pastors of the churches who, along with their saints, attended the Easter Concert saints and gained the opportunity to listen to the gospel. As we concluded this Easter Cantata, which will be the first bridge of faith to the Gospel for this year, we felt that the work began through the love of God, who wants to save the numerous people on this land of America. We ask for your prayers! (Ezekiel Lee, Minister of Good News NY Church)
Meditation and Contemplation
Jesus Is Coming;
Where Are You Going?
any, if not most, people who claim to be Christians are of the belief that the Bible speaks to us about good and evil and what it is that we should do to be good. However, as I have studied the Bible for years I have never seen any indication that the Bible is telling us to be good. In fact, as I examine the many parables and historical stories in the Bible, there is not a single instance of how someone pleased God by being good or became righteous through their good deeds. This significant misunderstanding or misconception comes from the fact that few Christians know Godâ€™s heart and His perspective
of man. In Genesis Chapter 6:5 God says that every imagination of the heart of man is only evil continually. If that is true from Godâ€™s perspective, then what expectations of good can God have towards man? Sadly, many, if not most, churches today preach that their members should pray, ask for forgiveness, tithe, and serve God diligently. Although it is not bad to do those things, we are deceived into thinking that such actions will get us to heaven. Sorry, but that is not the case. If such diligence would result in sanctification, justification and righteousness how then did Abraham become righteous? The Bible says in Romans 4 that Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness. What good things did the man hit by robbers do in Luke 10, or the prodigal son in Luke 15 in order to gain righteousness? How about the woman caught in adultery in John 8, or the man with an infirmity for 38 years in John 5, or even the malefactor that was crucified with Jesus? The fact is that the way to heaven and the path to righteousness is not about what we do but rather what Jesus has done for us. He came because we could do nothing to remove our sins and become justified, sanctified or washed. The Bible is not about good and evil but about belief and unbelief. Those who believe God will enter into heaven while those who do not believe will go to hell.
A Conversation I Once Had in a Car
HOW CAN I BE DEAD WHEN I STILL HAVE AMBITIOUS
I travel a lot, and usually by car. In one day, if I visit the churches near Seoul and return from preaching, usually I travel about 600 kilometers and close to 800 kilometers when I have traveled a lot that day. There have also been times when I traveled up to 1,000 kilometers in one day. During those times, I travel with other pastors, and we buy some soda at the rest area or talk about the Bible together or have a prayer meeting inside the car. As we have a prayer meeting or talk about 68 • The Good News May 2012
the Bible together in the car, those 3-4 hours do not seem very long, and before we know it, we have reached our destination. One time, I was riding a car with another pastor, and we were discussing spiritual life. Then our discussion led to the fact that when Jesus was crucified on the cross, we were also crucified with him. Although he is a pastor, he only knew that ‘I have been crucified with Christ and was buried,’ but he didn’t have true faith. He discovered that he had the heart, ‘I am alive now and the ambitions of the flesh arise within me, so how can
A Grain of Mustard Seed
I be dead?’ So I opened up the Bible and continued to speak with him. There are many places in the Bible that record the fact that we have been crucified on the cross with Jesus Christ. It also says in the Bible that, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Therefore, we know “I am dead,” but a question arises in our hearts. There are a lot of people who live spiritual life with the thought that “If I died, then the ambitions of the flesh with its lust should not arise, but when it does, it doesn’t seem like I died.” It is easy to think that I
am following God’s Word when, in reality, I am following my own thoughts because these kinds of questions are not resolved by accurate faith. These kinds of people, who believe they are following God’s Word, are actually following their own thoughts. They slowly go in the wrong direction and end up living a wrong spiritual life far from God. CLEAR LINE BETWEEN GOD’S WORDS AND MY THOUGHTS
God called Abraham when he was 75 years old, and when he was 99 years old, God told Abraham, “Your
Testimony • 69
wife, Sarah, shall bear you a son.” At that time, Abraham thought, “How can a 100 year old man have a child? And Sarah is 90 years old…” We can see that Abraham’s heart did not match God’s heart. When Peter met Jesus at the Sea of Galilee, he caught a lot of fish when he listened to the words of Jesus and let down his net into the deep. However, at the last supper when Jesus said, “You will all forsake me.” We can see that Peter put forth his own thought, “Even if I were to die, I will not forsake you.” People have many thoughts and live following them. However, there is the 70 • The Good News May 2012
temptation of Satan in those thoughts. The temptations of Satan not only come to the unsaved but also to those who are already saved. That is why Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan.” This is the reason why we must draw a clear line between God’s Word and my thoughts in order for us to live a true spiritual life following the Lord. Among the saved, there are many who live according to a standard of spiritual life that seems similar to God’s Word. Living a true spiritual life is following the Word of God instead of my own thoughts, by realizing that
A Grain of Mustard Seed
I am fundamentally evil, filthy, dirty, and denying myself. When Godâ€™s Word and our thoughts are different, we need to throw out our thoughts and receive the Word of God. OLD THINGS PASSED AWAY, ALL THINGS ARE NEW We should not only deny ourselves but believe in the fact that we have died with Christ. When Jesus was crucified on the cross, certainly he died for our sins. I am the one who committed the sins, but how is it that when Jesus was crucified on the cross, my sins were washed? It is because God is the one
who passed our sins onto Jesus. The reason that Jesus died on the cross was not for his own sins but for our sins. In addition, because Jesus died for our sins, his death is really our death. The body of Jesus is different from ours, so it may not make sense. However, when the heart of Jesus and our own heart become one, and we believe in the words of Jesus by faith, in the world of the heart, we have become as one. That is why when Jesus was crucified on the cross, we also died with him. Because Jesus and I become one spiritually, the death of Jesus was really my own death, and Testimony â€˘ 71
my sins ended at the cross. Afterwards, Jesus resurrected with a holy body that had nothing to do with sin. If we have become one with Jesus, we have died together with Jesus, and we have also resurrected with Jesus. Apostle Paul in Romans 6:6, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” We were slaves to sin, always being dragged and tempted by it. However, if we believe that we have died on the cross with Jesus and that his death was my own death 72 • The Good News May 2012
through being one, we will no longer have to be dragged around by sin. We will be free from sin, and God will lead us to live a holy life. In Romans 6:1-2, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace might abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Also in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Only our outer covering is left, inside of us we have completely become new. We will live a bright life because we have a new life free from sin.
A Grain of Mustard Seed
FROM THEN ON, I COULD SEE HIM LIVING A NEW LIFE Although many people say that they believe in Jesus, they try to quit drinking, and they try to quit smoking on their own. They donâ€™t know how hard and painful it is to live like that. If we live a true spiritual life, we have died with Christ, and we are one with the resurrected Jesus. Jesus is with us, and he starts to change our life. Jesus makes us to be far away from drinking and smoking, also far from gambling and doing drugs, and makes us free from an evil life. Now that we are one with Jesus, God made
it so that we are able to live by the same name as Jesus. When we have this faith, we will truly live a bright life, free from sin. On that day, the pastor and I were so joyful and happy as we discussed these topics as we traveled by car. From then on, the pastor became free, and I could see him living a very bright life. Although people say that they believe in Jesus, if they are led by their own thoughts, they will face hardships. However, if we have true faith, we will live a bright and blessed life, being free from living our own life. (Good News Magazine, Korean Edition, April 2012)
Testimony â€˘ 73
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