Belfast United Methodist Church
Thursday, April 24, 2014
The mission of the Belfast United Methodist Church is to be a community of Disciples in service for Jesus Christ, sharing God's love with all.
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03 from our pastor

 
 
 
 
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Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
 
What does family mean to you? It means hope to me. When I go through challenges in my life, I think of my family and I get strength to go on. One night, I was driving on Rt. 3 to come back home. It was a dark and stormy night. To make matters worse, one of the headlights was suddenly gone. It was very challenging. However, I knew that I would be at home after that long drive on Rt. 3. In spite of those challenges like sleet, darkness, and a broken headlight, I was able to keep hope because I had a family waiting for me.
 
Then, how about those who do not have good relationships with their family members and those who do not have a family at all? How about those who cannot have hope when they feel lonely or when they are in desperate needs as they do not know where to be? Would you be a family for them?
 
When Jesus was dying on the cross in our places, He gave us a new meaning of family of faith in Christ.
     Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary      Magdalene. When Jesus saw His mother there, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby,      He said to His mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “here is your mother.”      From that time on, this disciple took her into his home (John 19:25-27, NIV).
“From that time on,” Jesus’ mother Mary and the disciple Jesus loved became one family. I strongly believe that Jesus wants us to remember that we have become one family by His blood. And He commends us to be a family for those who need to find hope in His family when they go through a dark and stormy night. Would you be a family for them?
 
This year we will go through many changes to live out this commend of Jesus. You may need to get out of your comfort zones. But, we have already learned that “we’ve got to get out of the boat if we want to walk on water.” Our church will focus on introducing parents with young children to Jesus Christ, especially “younger” parents with various challenges. I know our committees have been making efforts to research and develop various programs for this vision. You will hear more about this vision in details soon. Now I would like to ask you to pray for our vision – reaching out parents with young children with God’s good news. Let us continue to seek for God’s help and support one another for this vision, and may God continue to bless us to be a family for those who need one!
 
Who is your mother? Who is your brother? Who is your family?
 
Immanuel - God with us,
 
Your Pastor Jinwoo
 
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 Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
 
"In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it" (John 1:4-5, New International Version).
 
I once believed that I was a prepared vessel for God’s ministry, which had no cracks. But I found a big crack. I felt shamed. I found another. I was scared. I was afraid that God would not use me any longer because I was defective. I found more cracks… one after another… I thought it was the end of the world. Those mistakes I made were too ugly to face. I believed that I was a mistake when I made mistakes. I was afraid that God would give up on me.
But, the Holy Spirit enabled me to see the Light was coming through those cracks. When I focused on them, I couldn’t see the Light coming through them. But when I acknowledge the Light through them, those cracks, brokenness, mistakes were not matters any longer. Jesus made something beautiful even when I was a still sinner.
God has healed me. God has made me a wounded-healer.
Jesus Christ came to look for not the righteous but the sinners. I want to praise the Lord. How about you? Merry Christmas!
 
                                  I Still Love You                                              
                                                                    written by Jinwoo Chun
Jesus, I was so down; I was so scared; I was so broken.
All I could do was crying all day long
Jesus, there was no light; there was no hope; I was so alone.
But Lord, You found me and held my hands.
 
(You said) I still love you. I can’t give up on you.
I still love ’cause you matter to Me.
I heard you crying. I saw the tears in your heart.
I still love you ’cause you are Mine.
 
Jesus, I hear Your voice; I feel Your heart; I look into Your eyes.
And I can know how much I love You.
Jesus, now I am healed; now I am found; yes I am Yours.
Lord, You have saved me and had me in Your arms.
(You say) I still love you. I can’t give up on you.
I still love ’cause you matter to Me.
I’ll hold your hands. I’ll give you My strength.
I still love you ’cause you are Mine.
 
(Yes, Lord) I belong to You. I am Yours.
 
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My sisters and brothers in Christ at Belfast UMC,
 
I shared a video clip with the congregation during the service a couple of weeks ago. It was about geese flying a v formation. “When a good flies in formation it creates shelter and uplift for the other birds. This means that the whole flock can fly 71% further than if they were flying alone. Each goose takes its turn at the head of the formation. This means that each bird can rest and they can help one another. The geese flying towards and back of the formation honk. This encourages those up at the front to keep going. When a goose drops out of formation due to sickness or tiredness, two other geese drop out of formation to help and protect it until it is fit again. Shared direction and a sense of community means we can do more and go further. Sharing the responsibilities means no one gets tired and worn out. We need to encourage one another to ensure we can complete the journey. We need to share the responsibility to care for those who are struggling” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOBthOPuw2U&feature=related). This is the power of a team. This is the power of the Mission Shares ministry. About 40,000 United Methodist churches across the world do God’s ministry together through Mission Shares. We combine smaller gifts from individual churches into a larger amount through the Mission Shares ministry and experience the power of a team with God’s help. For example, we support mission in more than 125 countries, 1,812 missionaries, and 80,000 volunteers in mission fields, 102 UMC community centers and mission colleges. Isn’t it amazing?
The United Methodist Church reach out the both spiritually and physically needy with God’s good news and gifts wherever they are – in Maine, in the United States, all over the world through this Mission Shares ministry. We Belfast United Methodist Church have participated in this ministry in full during last 16 years. In spite of financial challenge, we pray and hope that we can do it again. Would you be a part of this wonderful ministry? Can we proactively make it happen again with our prayerful gifts? If you have any questions about it, please feel free to contact me.
Let us continue to do God’s ministry together! Let us continue to “honk” to encourage the needy in the name of Jesus Christ through our prayerful Mission Shares ministry together!
 
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me… Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me (Matthew 25: 35-36, 40).
 
May God’s steadfast love be with you all!
 
With love in Christ,
 
Your Pastor Jinwoo
  
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Prayer of Confession
"Change me, O God."
 
Search Me, O God sung by Jinwoo Chun
 
Search Me, O God (Live) by passion&compassion
 
 
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Assurance of Pardon
"In the name of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven!"
 
Since Jesus Came into My Heart sung by Jinwoo Chun
 
Since Jesus Came into My Heart (Live) by passion&compassion
 
 
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Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
 
May the Holy Spirit empower you to focus and refocus on God and God’s power every day!
 
Do you feel secured or floundering in your faith journey? How do you get your spiritual battery recharged? When we feel no vitality in our faith life, we often look for some new and sparkling ways to renew our spirituality. But the Bible keeps reminding us of the simple but ultimate way to stay vital and strong; that is, Back to the basics.
 
Vince Lombardi, the legendary football coach of the Green Bay Packers, was famous for his ability to get players to achieve greatness. He did it by making sure the players never forgot the basics. He said, “This is a football. Somebody throws the ball to you; catch it. Somebody hands it to you; run with it. If you see somebody else the other team running with it, tackle him. If you see it lying on the ground, pounce on it.”
Vince Lombard became a legend in his time, because he emphasized the basics. No athletic player can be successful unless he or she has mastered the basics.
 
I believe that the same thing is true in Christian journey. What is the reason of what you do at the church? Is it your desire to please God or to achieve a project one after another? Is it your response to God’s steadfast love for you or religious obligated feeling? If it is something else than God, no wonder why you feel fatigue and floundering! Let us stick to "Back to the Basics."
1. Worship
"All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name" (Psalm 86:9).
"Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker" (Psalm 95:6)
2. The Bible
"Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).
"Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful" (Joshua 1:8)
3. Prayer
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).
4. Evangelism
"Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20).
 
May the Holy Spirit empower us to live out these basics! I strongly believe that God will continue to let us experience something beautiful as we live them out. Do you?
 
Immanuel - God with us,
 
 
Your Pastor Jinwoo 
 
 
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Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
 
When you look at the cross, what comes into your mind first? Everyday when I come in my office, the first thing I do is to go to the sanctuary and look at “the old rugged cross” and meditate on its meaning. I see Jesus with open arms on the cross. I see Jesus Christ our Savior who embraced us with His wide open arms even at the moment of death. I hear Jesus crying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” He was crying out on the cross for mercy for us. He was pleading for our forgiveness.
 
Have you felt you were lost? Have felt you had no hope? Have you felt nobody cared about you? Have you felt you had no idea where to go for comfort? Jesus tells us, “Come! Come to Me! I still love you. Don’t you see I love you ‘til death?”
“God demonstrates God’s own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
“This is how God showed God’s love among us: God sent God’s one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that God first loved us and sent God’s Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10)
 
Today I see the empty cross. I believe in the risen Christ. I feel God’s power, God’s love that casts away all my fears as I meditate on Jesus’ death on the cross in my place and His resurrection. So I have decided to stop wandering because the Spirit has reminded me where to be when my heart is troubled. And now I stand at the foot of the cross. I feel God, who empowers and helps me, so that I can move on.
 
What do you see, hear, and feel when you look at the cross? Would you join me in standing at the foot of the old rugged cross? “Hear the good news: Christ died for us while we were yet sinners; that proves God’s love toward us. In the name of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.” Ayuh!
 
With love in Christ,
 
Your Pastor Jinwoo
 
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Easter... Jesus died on the Cross in your place, and God raised Him up from the dead. What does it mean to you?
Easter means HOPE to me. The history of Jesus' death and resurrection is the foundation of my hope. When I think of the empty tomb of the Gospels, I think of the empty cocoon. Resurrection can be compared to the transformation of silkworms into beautiful butterflies. Caterpillars are not able to think of themselves as flying. They do not even know how to run. How could ugly, crawling worms conceive of themselves as beautiful butterflies? They have only the experience of crawling. Every single thing they come to face as crawling is a challenge. They cannot be free from those challenges until they become able to fly.
We all experience the challenges that come from brokenness. We may not be able to see that we can be free from them. However, God has "delivered us from slavery to sin and death" through Jesus' death and resurrection. As the hymn testifies, "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow; because He lives, all fear is gone; because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living just because He lives."
When I have to crawl with heavy burdens in my life, I still keep my hope in the Lord because I believe that God will transform me to a butterfly flying freely. In other words, when I have lows in my life journey, I put my faith in God who will raise me up. When I see my brokenness, I find hope in the Lord because I believe that God will set me free as God had done through Jesus' death and resurrection.
 
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May God's presence be experienced in your life journey day by day!
 
Day by Day sung by Jinwoo
 
 
 
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May God's comfort be with you!
 
 In Memory of My Friend Jung Hwa sung by Jinwoo
(The lyrics are from Korean Hymn "Boo-Room-Ba-Don-Yi-Moum [Call'd of God, We Honor the Call]")
 
in memory of my beloved friend by passion&compassion
 
 
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Happy New Year!
 
   May God's steadfast love continue to be with you and your family!
 
   My sisters and brothers in Christ, what is your new year’s resolution? We have a new beginning now, 2012. We have a clean slate. How can we make a fresh start in Jesus Christ? In his article, Rick Warren says that each letter of “start” stands for something important for our life journey.
   S – Stop making excuses.
   T - Take stock
   A - Act in faith
   R - Refocus
   T – Trust
 
   I would like to share his points with you. If you had 2011 to live over again, how many of you would probably do something differently? We make mistakes and we want to make a fresh start. Regardless of what happened in 2011, we want to make a fresh start, don’t we? Regardless of what kind of failure you had in 2011, you can make a fresh start with God. Here is how you make a fresh start.
 
   First, stop making excuses. If I want to start fresh, I have to stop making excuses for my failures. I've got to stop blaming other people. I've got to stop seeing myself as the victim of my circumstances. Other people can hurt you. Other people can harm you. But nobody can ruin your life except you. Nobody can ruin your life without your permission. You have a choice and you can choose how you're going to respond to those hurts. The starting point for the new life is to honestly accept our parts in the problem.
 
  Second, take stock. To make a fresh start, I’ve got to take stock of my life. I need to do an evaluation in my life and take stock of my experiences. Regardless of what happened in 2011, one of the things I have today that I didn’t have last year is more experience. And God wants me to use those experiences for better life in 2012. God does not want us to waste them. God wants us to learn from them.
 
   Third, act in faith. The key to change anything is faith. If I want to change my circumstance, it takes faith. If I want to change my personality, it takes faith. If I want to change anything in my life, I have to have some faith.
I may believe that Jesus can help me. I may believe that Jesus Christ will help me. But that is not enough. God wants me to let go of everything else I am trusting in and cast myself on Jesus Christ! Let go, and God will make my paths straight. Let go, and God will direct my paths. God knows the right ways. I may be lost. I may be confused. But, God has clear and right direction. Let go, and God will keep me on track. Let us act in faith. Faith is not the absence of fear. Faith is moving ahead in spite of my fear. Faith is doing the thing I fear the most, even when I am scared to death and I am trembling while I do it, I move ahead in spite of my feelings. That is faith.
 
   Fourth, refocus. I need to refocus my thoughts if I want to change my life. If I have to refocus my thoughts to make a fresh start, that means I have to stop thinking some old patterns. Which memories of your past are you still rehearsing? There are things that I regret that have happened in my life. There are things I am ashamed of. There are mistakes, failures, bad decisions. But every time I think them over and over again, I am just reinforcing them in my mind. My past is past! It is over, done. It is never going to be with me again. The past cannot hurt me any more unless I choose to let it hurt me by holding on to the memory of it. The more I hold on to that memory, the more I rehearse it, it continues to hurt me today. Stop focusing on what I do not want and start focusing on what God has promised for me. Get my attention onto God's Words. Every time those memories come up, replace them by thinking about God's promises. Refocus.
 
   Last, trust. Trust God to help me succeed. Depend on God. Do not depend on myself. I get a fresh start by trusting. God has the power to renew my life. And God want me to know it. God has shown it through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ died on the cross in my place. He was crucified on the cross so I could stop torturing myself over those past failures. That is called grace.
 
   This year, 2012, let us together as a Christian community and as individuals ask Christ to help us make a fresh start.
   S – Stop making excuses.
   T - Take stock
   A - Act in faith
   R - Refocus
   T – Trust
 
   I will develop my meditation on this article and share it with you during the month of January. Would you join me in listening to God's good news for us as we begin our new journey in 2012?
 
   With love in Christ,
 
   Your Pastor Jinwoo Jinwoo Chun
 
 
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It is getting cool. The sky is high and blue. The autumn in Maine is lovely. However, while you are enjoying this wonderful fall, you may get nervous with MWS (Maine-Winterphobia-Syndrome) because the winter in Maine is long and can be severe. I have learned that many of us suffer from depression especially during this long and harsh winter. And, I, your “Mainah” Pastor, feel compassion for you. (Do you still consider me as a flatlander? Give up and accept the fact that God has recreated me as a Mainah. A-yuh?)
 
   Seriously, God fills my heart with great compassion for you whenever I see you struggling with low self-esteem and depression. Therefore, I have strongly emphasized on compassion for yourself along with passion for God and compassion for God's people in both my personal conversations with you and the weekly Good News during the services.
 
   Whenever you feel low self-esteem and depression, I want you to remember this story about where your value comes from, which I am going to share with you in this letter. I strongly believe that this is what God wants all of us to remember.
 
   Where does my worth come from? Where does my value come from?
   Do you know who the original audiences of the creation story in the Book of Genesis? A group of Hebrews who had been slaves in Egypt. In Egypt, they worked seven days a week making bricks. They had quotas of bricks they had to meet. They had to make bricks, bricks, and more bricks every day, all day. In Egypt, your worth and value came from meeting your quota of bricks. You were worth as much as the number of the bricks you made. This was life in Egypt. Now God rescues these people from life in Egypt, and God is reminding them what it means to be a human being, not a human doing. God is teaching them where their value and worth come from.
 
   I do not know what you will be thinking through the long winter. But I do know what God wants you to reflect on every day. God wants you to remember that your value comes from the truth that you are rescued and redeemed children of God. No matter what challenges you have... no matter what circumstances you are in... God tells you not to let those challenges discourage you. Jesus commands you to remember that you are the one whom He loves to death. And even when you cannot be happy, the Holy Spirit enables you and empowers you to find joy in Jesus Christ, which comes from the knowledge that nothing can separate you from God's steadfast and unfailing love for you.
 
   You know what? The creation story has a refrain: “Evening, morning, evening, morning.” What does it mean? A day goes from night to day, from dark to light. It is the journey God has all of us on, moving from night to day, from dark to light, from disappointment to encouragement, from despair to hope, from slavery to sin to freedom to live with passion for God, compassion for God’s people and myself, and from brokenness to wholeness.”
 
   Do you feel that you are going through night in your life journey? God is holding you and moving you from darkness to light, from despair to hope. God never gives up on you! Would you join me slowing down and seeing all the beauty that God has made in our lives? "Be still and know that I am your God."
 
   Where does your value come from? Where does your help come from? It is our God - the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Sustainer! A-yuh? A-yuh!
 
   With love in Christ,
 
   Your Mainah Pastor Jinwoo
 
 
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   Once upon a time, there was a little old woman. She lived with her son, her daughter-in-law, and her grandson. The little old woman trembled her hands and had feeble eyes. She dribbled her food because of her trembling behavior. Her uncertain table habits became increasingly offensive to the daughter-in-law. One day, she strongly objected to her husband. “I can’t stand your mother dribble food.”
   She and her husband took the fumbling old woman to a corner of the kitchen, set her on a stool, and gave her food in an earthenware bowl. Now she was no longer troubling them by her dribbled food; now the tablecloth was no longer soiled by her trembling behavior.
   One day, in her trembling, she dropped the bowl and broke it. The daughter-in-law yelled at her, “If you are a pig, you must eat from a trough.” And they made a little wooden trough, and the little old woman ate from it.
They had a four-year-old son. They were very proud of him. One evening they noticed the boy seriously playing with blocks of wood. When the father asked what he was doing, the boy said with his beautiful smile, “I’m making a trough to feed you and Mammy out of when I get big.”
   For a while the man and woman just looked at each other, not saying anything. Then they cried. And then, they went to the corner and led the little old woman back to her place at the table. They gave her a comfortable chair, and put her food on a plate. And never again they were really, deeply troubled by the food she spilled or by dishes she occasionally broke. They learned that, in honoring a parent, they possessed their own future. They learned that they should accept the blessing of the past so they could have a future.
 
   This is what the fifth commandment of the Ten Commandments teaches us. We shall accept the blessing of our parents so we can have a future. “Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12). The Bible reminds us that when we honor our parents we are really caring for ourselves.
 
   You may start from acknowledging your parents and thanking them. One of the Korean traditions to practice this is calling your parents on your birthday. You call them and thank for their "labor" and their love for you. Would you try it?
 
   When we honor our parents as the Word of God says, may our heavenly Parent be pleased! May God's steadfast love continue to be with you and your parents!
 
With love in Christ,
 
 
Your Pastor Jinwoo
  
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Nowhere? NowHere!
 
  When I was an intern chaplain at the St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Allston, near Boston, I was in charge of the Intensive Care Units. So everyday I met patients and their family members who were fighting serious illnesses. You could see they were getting tired, day by day. They were grieving. They were wrestling with the questions “Where are you, God? Have you forgotten us? Where does my help come from?” When we are suffering from life’s challenges, we often ask the question, “Where is God when we are suffering? God is nowhere?”
 
  I met a Jewish professor at Boston University. His name was Elie Wiesel. He survived after the Holocaust. In 1944, Elie Wiesel was sent to Auschwitz. He was only 14 years old. He lost his father, mother, and his younger sister. When he was watching one of his friends struggling on the gallows for over a half hour, a man behind Elie asked, “Where is God now?” Elie heard a voice within him answer: “Where is God? Here God is hanging here on these gallows.” He couldn’t find God during his Holocaust experience, but he confessed that God had never left him alone. After the war was over, Elie was sent to a hospital. He spent two weeks in the hospital hovering between life and death. One day, Elie gathered enough strength to get up and looked in the mirror. He stared into someone unrecognizable: “From the depths of the mirror, a corpse gazed back at me. The look in his eyes, as they stared into mine, has never left me.”
  Elie realized God, who he thought was dead, never left him. God never left him alone. When Elie was weeping, God was weeping with him. When Elie was grieving, God was grieving with him. When Elie thought God was nowhere, God was with Elie “Now Here.”
 
God is nowhere? God is NowHere! God is with you here and now!
 
With love in Christ,
 
Your Pastor Jinwoo

 

 

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   May God’s steadfast love for you continue to be experienced in your life in 2011!
  
   What is your New Year's Resolution? Is it about doing something more? Is it about achieving something more on your own? Or is it something about having fun with God?
   A group of tourists went on a safari in Africa. They hired a native guide who knew the area well. After three days, the native guide claimed, “We have to stop and rest for a day.” The tourists asked him, “Do you feel fatigued? Are you that tired?” He then said, “We have walked too far, too fast, and now we must wait for our souls to catch up to us.”
   How about you? Have you been walking too fast so your soul is so behind? Are you running too fast in your life journey? “Go! Go!” lifestyle and get burned out quickly? Just keep running to make more money, to worry more about your family and friends, and to work more for the church, (not to serve God and God’s people)? So you forget about your spirituality? As we have just begun the new chapter of our life journey, called 2011, don't you think that now is the time that you need to stop and wait for your soul to catch up to you?
   You work more and you work harder, because you may believe that your value comes from how much you achieve. But, your value comes neither from how much work you do, nor how much achievement you make. It comes from the truth that you are the precious one, whom God made in God’s image.
   Through the story of creation, God revealed this truth to a group of Hebrews who had been slaves in Egypt. What was life like in Egypt? In Egypt, they worked seven days a week making bricks. They had quotas of bricks they had to meet. Bricks, bricks, bricks, and more bricks! Every day, all day, bricks. In Egypt, their worth and value depended on whether or not they met their quotas of bricks. They were worth as much as what they produced. This was life in Egypt. After setting them free from Egypt, God taught them what it meant to be a human being, not a human doing. In the creation story, God told them, “You are worthy and valuable, not because you met your quotas of bricks, but because you are My children whom I made in My image.”
   How about us? Do we need to hear this truth? “Yes”! God tells us, “Take a break and be reminded that you are not a machine. Take a break in Me and know your true worth and value. Learn the need of a rhythm of creating and resting.”
   In 2011, let’s slow down and not miss all the beautiful and wonderful things that God has created and is creating for us in our lives. Let us take a break in God and fully enjoy what God makes in and through us!
 
With love in Christ,
 
Your Pastor Jinwoo

 

 

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God NEVER gives up on you. God is persistently faithful to you regardless if you are good enough or not. Click here to read the full message.

 

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Merry Christmas! Immanuel (God with us)!
 
   Do you feel that you have to be clean first to receive Jesus into your life? Do you expect that you could be perfectly ready first to accept God's free gift (grace)? If so, you may want to listen to one of Jesus' stories called "The Parable of the Sower" in Matthew 13:1-9, on which my Christmas Eve sermon will be based.
   The story begins like this. "A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path... Some fell on rocky places... Other seed fell among thorns... Still other seed fell on good soil..." Have you noticed something interesting? You see that the farmer does not plow the field first and then plant the seed. Contrary to our modern farming practices, first-century farmers planted their seed before plowing the ground, not after. Thus they broadcasted their seed, scattering the seed freely over all kinds of soil. Isn't it interesting?
   Guess what? That is the way God chooses in giving God's grace to us. In John 3:16, the Bible says, "For God so loved the world that God gave God's one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." In Ephesians 2:8-9, the Bible also says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast." In other words, God just embraces and loves us first no matter what. It does not matter to God whether your heart is like the path, rocky places, thorns, or good soil. God broadcasts God's grace upon us. Isn't it wonderful?
 
   Christmas is the season that we remind ourselves of this good news. God also wants us as the body of Christ to bring this good news to others. As we bring this good news to them for their spiritual needs, we also want to fulfill their physical needs. Would you join us in this engaging ministry to our community? If you hope to share your talents, please talk to me or Evelyn Littlefield, the Coordinator of Lay Ministry. We at Belfast United Methodist Church have various outreaching programs you may enjoy. We also share foods and fellowship with our neighbors through Food Cupboard on Fridays and Christmas Community Dinner on December 25th. If you are interested in these ministries, contact the office at 338-5575. Let us participate in God's ministry all together!
 
May God's steadfast love be with you and your family!
 
With love in Christ,
 
Pastor Jinwoo

  

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My sisters and brothers in Christ at Belfast UMC,
 
May God’s steadfast love be with you all!
 
   When looking at a cross, it reminds me of the relationships that God provides me by God’s grace, which are the vertical relationship (between God and me) and the horizontal one (between others and me and me and myself).
In Mark 12:30-31, Jesus says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”
I find that Jesus’ Greatest Commandment is about love trinity – loving God, others, and myself. Passion for God and compassion for God’s people and myself! This is the basic and essential reason that I continuously to choose to be a Pastor. This is the message that I as a preacher am eager to help you to understand better and better as you listen to the Word of God more and more. This is the life that I as your spiritual leader am passionate to inspire you to experience together by God’s grace.
Through this love trinity, God may help us experience God’s healing power. God, our Creator took the initiative to reconcile with us through Jesus Christ, our Savior. And God sent the Holy Spirit, our Sustainer to enable and empower us to experience joy that comes from our knowledge that God unconditionally loves us not from our life conditions.
 
   We have just begun our new journey together. As we are walking together as one family in Christ, I would like to listen to your life stories. I also would like to share my stories with you. That is the purpose of “Nights with Our Pastor.” I strongly believe that God will establish a great foundation of our mutual relationships with God and with each other through this event. And we will begin experiencing the power of love trinity right there. God will let us experience all that I have mentioned above as we walk together. I will be coming to you. I will be bringing my open heart! Would you be there with open hearts?
 
With love in Christ,
 
  
Your Pastor Jinwoo 
 

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Upper Room Devotional