Ministry Blog

In the Voice of God

posted Jan 13, 2010, 9:38 AM by Dan Pak


Has anyone asked you recently, “Who are you?”  What was your response?              

What would your response be if you were asked now? 

Who we are, how we are formed is very much influenced by what others say of us and how others see us.  For instance, a child who is constantly told, “You are nothing and you will amount to be nothing but trouble”, then the child will internalize what he hears and eventually become convinced that is who he is and his identity becomes a person who is worthless and nothing.  On the other hand, if a child is told over and over how much she is loved and that she is precious and valuable, she will see herself as someone who is precious and valuable and as a beloved, she begins to develop the capacity to love others.   

Think back on your growing up years… What was said of you that has influenced you in who you are, how you see yourself, your identity? 

Listen to what Luke, our Gospel writer, tells us about what happened at Jesus’ Baptism…   

21 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."  

Baptism is a sacrament, an outward and visible sign of God’s grace, an act in which we can experience God’s gift, God’s love.  In Baptism, we are making a commitment that we are dead to our old life and we are now alive to a new life in Christ.  In short, in Baptism, we make a statement to the world and God that we will not live our lives on our own terms, but on God’s terms.  And in the midst of that new commitment, we begin to hear God’s voice to us that give us our identity and forms who we are.   

"You are my daughter, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."

"You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."

"You are my Child, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."  

At your baptism, this is what God said about you.  And, since your baptism, this is what God says about you all the time.  DO you hear him?  Can you hear God’s voice? 

Since our baptism, through the scriptures, God has been saying many things to us that defines who we are and what we are.  Hear what God is saying to us in through Isaiah 43:1-7 

1 But now, this is what the LORD says --

    he who created you, O Jacob,

    he who formed you, O Israel:

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

2 When you pass through the waters,

      I will be with you;

and when you pass through the rivers,

    they will not sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire,

    you will not be burned;

    the flames will not set you ablaze.

3 For I am the LORD, your God,

the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

    I give Egypt for your ransom,

    Cush and Seba in your stead.

4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you,

    I will give men in exchange for you,

and people in exchange for your life.

5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you;

I will bring your children from the east

and gather you from the west.

6 I will say to the north, `Give them up!'

and to the south, `Do not hold them back.'

Bring my sons from afar

    and my daughters from the ends of the earth--

7 everyone who is called by my name,

    whom I created for my glory,

whom I formed and made." 

What do you hear what God is saying to you?  Do you hear God saying to you that you are loved?  Do you hear that God is with you?  Do you hear how much God love you?   

There are many voices in and around us that tells us who we are.  Some are good voices of encouragement and love, but many are bad voices that tell us that we are not as good, we are unlovable, we do not worth much etc.  Rather than hearing those voices, God wants us to hear his voice, so that we can find ourselves in God in his voice and have our identity as a child of God so as the beloved child of God, we can begin to love ourselves and others.  

"You are my Child, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."

New Year's Revolution

posted Jan 13, 2010, 9:38 AM by Dan Pak


Happy New Year!

I trust you've made your New Year's resolutions one of which is to be in worship each week.  For me, one of my resolution/desire is that I want to be “fit” physically and spiritually.  

The late Erma Bombeck made some memorable resolutions over the years:

  1. I will go to no doctor whose office plants have died. 

  2. I'm going to follow my husband's suggestion to put a little excitement into my life by living within our budget. 

  3. I'm going to apply for a hardship scholarship to Weight Watchers. 

  4. I will never loan my car to anyone I have given birth to.  

Resolutions are good, especially if there are changes we need to make in our lives or improve ourselves.  We make New Year’s resolutions and set new goals each January 1 for there is a lot of room for growth and improvement.  More than that, the New Year is the time of hope and faith enabling us to put the emphasis not on our past, but on our future. Not on our regrets, but on our possibilities.  And so, focusing on our hope and future, we make our New Year’s resolutions. 

Joke writer Ed McManus has some words of comfort for those of us who are setting resolutions: "Don't worry about [keeping] those 2010 News Year's resolutions," he says. "You only have to deal with them until February and then you can give them up for Lent."  It sounds like he has been spying on some of us.

The downside of the New Year’s resolution is that they do not last.  We make our resolutions and for the most part, they don’t even last to February.  We forget about it by mid-January.  May be what we need is not another resolution, but a revolution.  Resolution lasts only a few days, may be few weeks at best.  Revolution has a lasting effect into the future, changing the course of one’s history.

We need a turning point in our lives. Like the wise men of old we need to catch a glimpse of a guiding light, and we need to follow that light to a New Life in Christ. 

My prayer for the community at Union Village in 2010 is the revolution of “Metanoia” – transformation or change in a person as a result of an encounter with God.  Encounter with God or experiencing God takes place through placing ourselves in the “path of disciplined grace” of living out our faith in our daily lives as we practice spiritual disciplines of worshipping regularly, daily reading of the scriptures, praying ceaselessly, giving of our selves through mission, stewardship, holding each other accountable and be in fellowship. 

A theologian Hans Kung reminds us who we are and what we are about as the church of Jesus Christ:

"We are to preach metanoia. We must entice people from the world to God. We are not to shut ourselves off from the world in a spirit of asceticism, but to live in the everyday world inspired by the radical obedience that is demanded by the love of God. The Church must be reformed again and again, converted again and again in each day in order that it may fulfill its task." 

May 2010 be the year that you rediscover or redefine yourself in the light of who Christ is finding purpose and meaning of your life in your relationship with Christ!  Amen. 

7-UPS for the New Year

  • The first is WAKE UP--Begin the day with the Lord. It is His day. Rejoice in it.

  • The second is DRESS-UP--Put on a smile. It improves your looks. It says something about your attitude.

 
  • The third is SHUT-UP--Watch your tongue. Don't gossip. Say nice things. Learn to listen.

 
  • The fourth is STAND-UP--Take a stand for what you believe. Resist evil. Do good.

 
  • Five, LOOK-UP--Open your eyes to the Lord. After all, He is your only Savior.

 
  • Six, REACH-UP--Spend time in prayer with your adorations, confessions, thanksgivings and supplications to the Lord.

 
  • And finally, LIFT-UP--Be available to help those in need--serving, supporting, and sharing. 



Christmas: Full of Surprises

posted Dec 16, 2009, 12:51 PM by Dan Pak   [ updated Dec 16, 2009, 12:57 PM ]


Christmas is a season of surprises.  And it is not just because we get to open presents on Christmas morning and be very happy and surprised.  The whole Christmas story is full of surprises. 
 

First of all, if a King of Kings is to be born in our world, what we would expect is that the King of Kings would be born in the palace or a castle of the most powerful, most prestigious country in the world. Jesus, the King of Kings was born not in a palace of a powerful kingdom, but he was born is a stable, in a small village called Bethlehem, in a country that was occupied by foreign powers at the time.  To make the matters worse, he was laid in a manger, the trough where animals feed because there was no place to put him, the King of Kings. Surprised?

Secondly, the Prince of Peace would be born to a “qualified” stock of parents, someone with power, intellect, money, fame etc. Jesus was born to a very ordinary parent, his father a carpenter and his mother a peasant.  Of all people in the world, God chose Mary, a simple, young peasant woman not because she was of a superior gene stock, but because she had a humble obedient heart that loved God.

What about Jesus, the great one coming to us as a very vulnerable baby?  As the God, he could have come as a strong and powerful leader, warrior with ten thousand angels.  Surprisingly, he came as a baby, humble and meek. Every detail of the Christmas story is not the kind of story we would expect of a birth of someone so great and so important. 

The best of the surprise is this; That God came down to be with us.  The world has never known a God who would love the people so much, that God would stoop down to our level to be with us.  This is the most surprising part of them all.  Can you imagine… the Almighty God who created the vast universe loved you so much that he came down to our level, to be with us, to have relationship with us personally?  Well, He did and that is the best surprise of the Christmas story. 

Pastor Grace,

Bible Verse: "In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.  2 This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.  3 All went to their own towns to be registered.  4 Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David.  5 He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.  6 While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.  7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn."

Luke 2:1

Abide In Me

posted Dec 2, 2009, 10:13 AM by Dan Pak

"Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.  I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:4-5


Can you guess what I found as I was walking through my backyard?  I found a branch. 

I guess it had been broken off by the wind.  It seems like it was broken off a while ago and there aren’t any leaves.  As a matter of fact, it is withered and dead.  This branch cannot or will not bear fruit because it is disconnected from the tree. 

This is what Jesus is talking about when he said, “Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.   I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5) 

In order for the branch to be healthy and bear fruit, the branch must be connected to the tree, the vine.  The same thing is true about our life with Jesus.  If we keep our life connected to Jesus, we will grow. Our life will produce beautiful leaves and delicious fruit. But if we are separated from Jesus, our leaves will wither and die and we will never put forth any fruit. 

C.S. Lewis wrote, "God has designed the human machine to run on Himself.  He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy without bothering about religion. God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing." 

Jesus invites us to live with him, be with him, be connected to him so we can live our lives to the fullest, bearing fruit that will please God and feed others.

Abiding with Jesus takes intentional effort.  This is not something that happens automatically.  We have to want to be with Jesus.  We want to be connected and we have to work to stay connected.  This is called intentional practice of spiritual disciplines.  (We will talk more about this coming January.) 

When my kids were little, 6 or 7 years old, whenever we are out and about in a mall or a park, I would always tell them, “Don’t lose mommy and daddy, hold onto us at all times so we don’t lose you.  We want you to be with us for a long time.”  Through out our excursion, I can see them consciously trying to hold on to us so they are not lost.  In order for them to grow and receive the care they need, it was very important that they stay with me; their mom and that I stay with them. 

What will your life be? Will you be a beautiful branch on the tree bearing fruit...or will you just be a dead wood?

Pastor Grace,

Forgiveness: God's Big Eraser

posted Nov 18, 2009, 6:21 AM by Dan Pak


God has put all of us on this earth, the big sheet of paper for us to create a masterpiece of life.  We are like pencils, everything we do, everything we say, and every move we make leaves a mark, like drawing. 

When we love God and worship God, when we love others by helping them, or show our love to the ones we love, hugging them and do something nice for them, when we work to bring peace… our pencil of life draws something beautiful. 

However, when we decide not to follow God’s commandments, be mean to others and hurt them, when we make bad choices that harm us or those around us, when we do things that break the loving relationship with God and each other etc., our pencil of life draws something awful that is full of mistakes and ruin the beautiful drawing that was already there. 

Now the problem is that we are not perfect and we keep making bad choices and bad mistakes that keep ruining the beautiful picture we strive to be.  Actually for most of us, we make more mistakes than drawing a beautiful design and left up to us, the drawing of our lives would be in ruin, full of mistakes.  Rather than seeing a beautiful piece of art, all we would end up seeing is a terrible mess.   

But have no fear…God loves us and forgives us. 

When we make mistakes, when we do wrong, and when we admit it and ask for forgiveness, then God out of his love and mercy forgives us like taking a big eraser and erase away all the mistake marks.  Forgiveness is God’s Big Eraser that removes the terrible mess we made so we can start again making beautiful design out of our lives.

When God forgives our sins, erases our terrible drawing, once it is erased, it is gone.  This is what God says in Isaiah 43:25 “I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”

Also in Psalm 103:11-12, the psalm writer says,  “For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far he removes our transgressions from us.” 

Can you hear how God uses the forgiveness, the big eraser so effectively that he will not remember our sins and removes them so far away from us? 

One more thing… there is no mark so big, so bad that the eraser can’t remove.

How wonderful to know that God’s eraser is bigger and more powerful than any mistake or mark we can make!  Thank God for his love for us who is willing to erase all our sins and forget them if we only humble ourselves and ask!

Pastor Grace,


Trinity: God In Three Persons

posted Nov 10, 2009, 2:55 PM by Dan Pak   [ updated Nov 10, 2009, 6:26 PM ]

  

"When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.  He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you.  All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you."  John 16:13-15

What do ice, water and steam vapor have in common?  They are all H2O. 

When we talk about God, there are three distinct names; God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  This is called Trinity.  Trinity means there is three in one much like ice, water and steam vapor which are same as in H2O in different forms depending on the temperature.  


Let me begin by saying that the doctrine of the trinity does not attempt to explain God. It only explains to us in a very elemental way what God has revealed to us about himself so far. It would be just like describing the tip of the iceberg above the water as if to describe the entire iceberg. So we Christians affirm the trinity, not as an explanation of God, but simply as a way of describing what we know about Him.  

The idea of the trinity is not a doctrine articulated in the scriptures. Yet, by implication, it is stated many times such as John 16:13-15.  We simply cannot speak of God without speaking of the three ways in which God had revealed himself to us. This does not mean that there are three separate Gods.   It means that there is one God who has shown himself in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 

Tertullian, one of the theologians of the early church, explained the trinity in a metaphor. God the Father he described as "a deep root, the Son as the shoot that breaks forth into the world, and the Spirit as that which spreads beauty and fragrance." 

God is one, but has three different way of relating to us.  What is important for us to understand is that God is One, but within that One there is relationship, love, mutuality: a community.   We are invited to be a part of that loving, mutual relationship with God so that we can be in a loving and mutual relationship with each other.  How cool is that! 

Pastor Grace,

God saw that it was good...

posted Nov 4, 2009, 4:23 PM by Dan Pak


Are you enjoying the beauty of autumn?  The colors of green, yellow, orange and red against the back drop of clear blue sky with occasional white clouds dotting the sky is so beautiful, it lifts our spirits.  I also love the falling leaves and the sound of crunch under my feet.   

In Genesis Chapter one, we are told that God created the world.  On the first day, God created light.  On the second day, God created sky. On the third day, God created land and the sea and all kinds of vegetations to grow. On the fourth day, God created sun, moon and the starts.  On the fifth day, he made birds and sea creatures.  On the sixth day, God made all the animals and human.  Then on the seventh day, God rested.  To me, the most wonderful part of the creation story is not that God created the world as wonderful as it is but that as God created, the Bible says that at the end of each day God looked at his handy work and saw that it was good.  God saw that it was good!  There was nothing he created and didn’t feel proud or love it. 

The creation story is tells us a truth beyond what we see.  It tells us about the enormous Love of God for all the creation and also for us, humans.  God made us in his own image and no two are alike.  Every single human being is unique in his or her own way bearing the image of God. 

In Psalm 139:13-14, the write praises God saying,  

“For it was you who formed my inward parts;  you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.” 

What a wonderful truth it is that God made each and everyone of is with such care and love….

God made you and saw that it was indeed very good!  Thanks be to God!

Can you feel the love God has for you?  

Pastor Grace,

U R God's Temple

posted Oct 28, 2009, 4:14 PM by Dan Pak




Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?  If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person.  For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.  1Cor. 3:16-17 

There are many types of houses… small house, big house, simple house, fancy house, cape cod house, tudor house, colonial house, one story house, multiple story house, single family house, duplex house etc… the list is endless.  When we are looking for a house to live in, as important the exterior of the house, the interior is also very important.  Is the house well kept?  Is the lay out of the house comfortable and inviting?  Is it clean? Is it presentable? And so forth. 

The Bible says that we are God’s temple, a house where God lives because the God’s Spirit, Holy Spirit lives in us.  Here’s a story that illustrates this point very well.  It is “My Heart: Christ’s Home” by Robert Boyd Munger.  (For the full story, go to http://www.scribd.com/doc/4084480/My-Heart-Christs-Home

“One evening I invited Jesus Christ into my heart. What an entrance He made! It was not a spectacular, emotional thing, but very real. Something happened at the very center of my life. He came into the darkness of my heart and turned on the light. He built a fire on the hearth and banished the chill. He started music where there had been stillness, and He filled the emptiness with His own loving, wonderful fellowship. I have never regretted opening the door to Christ and I never will. 

In the joy of this new relationship I said to Jesus Christ, "Lord, I want this heart of mine to be Yours. I want to have You settle down here and be perfectly at home. Everything I have belongs to You. Let me show You around." 

The first room was the study - the library. In my home this room of the mind is a very small room with very thick walls. But it is a very important room. In a sense, it is the control room of the house. He entered with me and looked around at the books in the bookcase, the magazines upon the table, the pictures on the walls. As I followed His gaze I became uncomfortable. 

Strangely, I had not felt self-conscious about this before, but now that He was there looking at these things I was embarrassed. Some books were there that His eyes were too pure to behold. On the table were a few magazines that a Christian had no business reading. As for the pictures on the walls - the imaginations and thoughts of the mind - some of these were shameful. 

Red-faced, I turned to Him and said, "Master, I know that this room needs to be cleaned up and made over. Will You help me make it what it ought to be?"

"Certainly!" He said. "I'm glad to help you. First of all, take all the things that you are reading and looking at which are not helpful, pure, good and true, and throw them out! Now put on the empty shelves the books of the Bible. Fill the library with Scripture and meditate on it day and night. As for the pictures on the walls, you will have difficulty controlling these images, but I have something that will help." He gave me a full-size portrait of Himself. "Hang this centrally," He said, "on the wall of the mind." 

I did, and I have discovered through the years that when my thoughts are centered upon Christ Himself, His purity and power cause impure thoughts to back away. So He has helped me to bring my thoughts under His control…  we walked into the living room. This room was intimate and comfortable. I liked it. It had a fireplace, overstuffed chairs, a sofa, and a quiet atmosphere.

He said, "This is indeed a delightful room. Let us come here often. It is secluded and quiet, and we can fellowship together."

Well, as a young Christian I was thrilled. I couldn't think of anything I would rather do than have a few minutes with Christ in close companionship.

He promised, "I will be here early every morning. Meet me here, and we will start the day together." 

So morning after morning, I would come downstairs to the living room. He would take a book of the Bible from the case. We would open it and read together. He would unfold to me the wonder of God's saving truths. My heart sang as He shared the love and the grace He had toward me. These were wonderful times.

However, little by little, under the pressure of many responsibilities, this time began to be shortened. Why, I'm not sure. I thought I was too busy to spend regular time with Christ. This was not intentional, you understand. It just happened that way. Finally, not only was the time shortened, but I began to miss days now and then. Urgent matters would crowd out the quiet times of conversation with Jesus. 

I remember one morning rushing downstairs, eager to be on my way. I passed the living room and noticed that the door was open.

Looking in, I saw a fire in the fireplace and Jesus was sitting there. Suddenly in dismay I thought to myself, "He is my guest. I invited Him into my heart! He has come as my Savior and Friend, and yet I am neglecting Him."

I stopped, turned and hesitantly went in. With downcast glance, I said, "Master, forgive me. Have You been here all these mornings?"

"Yes," He said, "I told you I would be here every morning to meet with you. Remember, I love you. I have redeemed you at great cost. I value your fellowship. Even if you cannot keep the quiet time for your own sake, do it for mine."

The truth that Christ desires my companionship, that He wants me to be with Him and waits for me, has done more to transform my quiet time with God than any other single fact. Don't let Christ wait alone in the living room of your heart, but every day find time when, with your Bible and in prayer, you may be together with Him. 

One day I found Him waiting for me at the door. An arresting look was in His eye. As I entered, He said to me, "There is a peculiar odor in the house. Something must be dead around here. It's upstairs. I think it is in the hall closet." 

As soon as He said this, I knew what He was talking about. There was a small closet up there on the hall landing, just a few feet square. In that closet, behind lock and key, I had one or two little personal things that I did not want anyone to know about. Certainly, I did not want Christ to see them. I knew they were dead and rotting things left over from the old life. I wanted them so for myself that I was afraid to admit they were there. 

Reluctantly, I went up with Him, and as we mounted the stairs the odor became stronger and stronger. He pointed to the door. I was angry. That's the only way I can put it. I had given Him access to the library, the dining room, the living room, the workroom, the rec room, and now He was asking me about a little two-by-four closet. I said to myself, "This is too much. I am not going to give Him the key." 

"Well," He said, reading my thoughts, "if you think I'm going to stay up here on the second floor with this smell, you are mistaken. I will go out on the porch." Then I saw Him start down the stairs.

When one comes to know and love Christ, the worst thing that can happen is to sense Him withdrawing His fellowship. I had to give in.

"I'll give You the key," I said sadly, "but You will have to open the closet and clean it out. I haven't the strength to do it."

"Just give me the key," He said. "Authorize me to take care of that closet and I will."

With trembling fingers I passed the key to Him. He took it, walked over to the door, opened it, entered, took out all the putrefying stuff that was rotting there, and threw it away. Then He cleaned the closet and painted it. It was done in a moment's time. Oh, what victory and release to have that dead thing out of my life!... 

What does your house look like?  What kind of shape is it in?  What sorts of things occupy your house?  Is Jesus Christ in your house?


Pastor Grace,

Jesus is the light

posted Oct 20, 2009, 3:30 PM by Dan Pak   [ updated Oct 20, 2009, 3:42 PM ]

John 8:12

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” 

Have you ever been in a black out?  Black out is when the electricity goes out and there is only darkness.  What would your first response be in this kind of situation? 

Yes! Go and get candles.  So we get candles, tall ones, short ones, skinny ones, fat ones, simple ones or beautifully decorated ones… there are all kinds and shapes. 

So now are we good?  We got all kinds of candles.  No.  It is still dark.

All these candles don’t help.  We may have hundreds and even thousands of candles, but all these will not help because the problem is that candles are not going to light up and give us light in the darkness by themselves.  We can wait, wait and wait in the hopes that some time, some day the candle will light by itself and give us light but then we are guaranteed to wait forever. 

Candles have the great potential to light up the darkness, but candles cannot light themselves.  In order for the candles to light up the darkness, they need some one to put the fire to and light it.

We are very much like the candles… we want to light up and dispel the darkness.  But by ourselves, we are no more useful than the candles waiting to be lit.

When Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” he meant that he is the light that can light us up so we can bring light to the darkness.  When Jesus comes into our hearts, our lives, we are lit up and we can shine bringing light to all who are in darkness. 

Are you lit?  Is Jesus in your heart?  If not, it’s really simple.

All you have to do is to ask Jesus to come into your heart and light you so you can shine the light of Jesus Christ.  I invite you to say the prayer with me.

Dear Lord Jesus, please come into my heart, come into my life.

Light my heart, light my life so I can shine your light in the dark.  Amen.


Pastor Grace,

Reaching Out In Faith

posted Oct 13, 2009, 5:02 PM by Dan Pak   [ updated Oct 13, 2009, 5:06 PM ]

A recent survey of 269 doctors revealed that 99 percent said they were convinced that religious belief has a healing effect on patients. That's 20 percent higher than the figure for the general public. We've got more physicians believing in the power of prayer than the general public.

What is more, 75 percent of the physicians testified to their belief in the healing power of intercessory prayer, and 38 percent said they think faith healers can make people well. 
-- Yankelovich Partners survey
conducted at the American Academy of Family Physicians meeting in October 1996,

The whole crowd was very glad to see Jesus.  They surrounded him, pushing and shoving as the people wanting to see Jesus and hear him.  A man named Jairus came and fell at Jesus’ feet and begged him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, who was dying.  In the crowd, there was a woman who’s been suffering from an illness for 12 years.  During these 12 years, she saw all kinds of doctors, tried all kinds of medicine to help her, but nothing worked. She came up behind Jesus and touched the fringe of his clothes, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. 

What happened here?

Jairus came to Jesus asking because he believed that Jesus could heal his daughter and make her well.  The woman came touching the edge of Jesus clothes because she believed that somehow just touching his clothes would heal her.

The father coming to Jesus asking, begging him to heal his daughter, the woman touching Jesus’ clothes is all same act of reaching out to Jesus.  Jesus heals, but the healing work is not a one-way act, we are required to do our part.

The famous fresco of Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam in the Sistine chapel illustrates this point very well.  We see God supported by the angels stretching out to touch Adam who is lazily reclined on a hill limp, not making any effort to reach out. If you see the close up picture of the fingers, all Adam has to do is lift his finger. 

All we have to do is lift our finger, reaching out to Jesus and touch the edge of his clothes and receive healing. Faith is no more than reaching our to Jesus.

Faith is not trusting God to get something; faith is trusting God when there seems to be nothing left. When everything is gone with no hope of restoration and when there is nothing on which to base your faith; then can you still trust God?

Let’s lift our fingers, let’s reach out to Jesus so we can be healed, blessed and receive life.

Oh! What happened to Jairus daughter?

While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from Jairus’ house to say, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the teacher any longer.”  When Jesus heard this, he replied, “Do not fear. Only believe, and she will be saved.”  When he came to the house, he did not allow anyone to enter with him, except Peter, John, and James, and the child’s father and mother.  They were all weeping and wailing for her; but he said, “Do not weep; for she is not dead but sleeping.”  And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead.  But he took her by the hand and called out, “Child, get up!”  Her spirit returned, and she got up at once. Then he directed them to give her something to eat.  Her parents were astounded.

How do we reach out to Jesus?

In singing, when we reach out our hands.

In praying, when we reach up with our hands.

When we come to Jesus asking…

When we touch Jesus’ clothes with our hearts of yearning and desire…

By Pastor Grace

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