Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Isaiah 60 - Radiant Beauty

Imagine that the sun did not rise tomorrow. Imagine that the sun did not rise for many days, for many weeks, for many months, for many years, for many generations. Imagine that the whole world was draped in darkness.

Imagine yourself in that world of darkness. Imagine yourself walking, working, living, eating, sleeping, waking in that world of darkness. Imagine your children and your children's children in that world of darkness.

After many generations it would no longer seem dark, but only real. It is dark, but what is dark if you can't remember light? It is cold, but what is cold if you can't remember warmth? The darkness is constant but unknown, unfelt.

Imagine that suddenly, in one corner of the world, light appeared.

Maybe it was the light of the sun finally rising again. Maybe it was the light of a star. Maybe it was the light of a great fire. A great light shone in a dark world.

What would you do? In that great world of darkness, if you saw light, what would you do? In that great world of dark coldness, if you felt warmth, what would you do? How would you feel?

To continue reading this sermon, click here.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Butterfinger Pancakes and Pajamas till Noon

About six months ago, our good friends Adam and Elisa took new jobs and moved to Seoul. When we saw them about a month ago at the concert in a helicopter (yes, in a helicopter - a big one), we made plans to come visit them after Christmas. This weekend was the auspicious occasion.
We came with no plans whatsoever other than hanging with them and eating at the restaurants of their choice. They suggested a place called Butterfinger Pancakes for supper on Friday night. Adam said that if we ate there for supper we would want to eat there the next day, too. He's right. We're ruined. This place has some of the best food I've ever eaten anywhere. There may be a bit of deprivation speaking here, but I was overwhelmed with the lush goodness of most of their food.
On Friday night, Sarah had some nut waffles - light, fluffy, crispy, excellent. Emma had the mac and cheese, also very good. Adam had the Fresco Burger, and Elisa and I split a Fresco Burger and a salad. The salad was blah, but the Fresco Burger was outstanding. It's actually a sausage burger topped with two kinds of cheese and bacon, then grilled on high quality bread. It's a living heart attack, but oh so delicious!

On Saturday, we sat around in our pajamas until noon. What a welcome reprieve from our busy end of semester and Christmas schedule! It was so nice to sip some coffee with friends and have nowhere we needed to go and nothing we needed to do. We also called our friends Mark and Naomi who are now studying in Canada. It was great to have all six of us on speaker phone, almost like old times.
About 2pm, we returned to Butterfinger Pancakes for another mouthwatering meal. Sarah had a very good grilled bagel sandwich. Adam and Elisa had a large omelet, packed with goodness. Emma had straight buttermilk pancakes, which come with your choice of butters and fruit toppings. Em was a little overwhelmed by all the choices, so we helped her out and recommended blueberry topping.

I had - get this! - the cream cheese and mozzarella pancakes. It sounds a little weird, but I figured: "When will I ever be able to try this again?" The cheese is actually in the pancakes. I topped it with a side of sunny side up eggs. It was incredible. I was practically moaning as I ate! I've never had pancakes so light and fluffy, and the idea of filling them with cheese was a stroke of genius. Elisa passed me her extra pancake - I think a gesture of generousity for the newbies who can't come back tomorrow - and I gladdly downed this perfect specimen of all a pancake should be - light, moist, fluffy, sweet, but not two sweet, buttery, but not greasy. I'm not kidding, I think those were the best pancakes I've ever had.
So if you're in Seoul and you have some time. Check out Butterfinger Pancakes. The prices are surprisingly reasonable for a Western style restarant in Korea. They now have locations at least in ApGuJong and KangNam, maybe more. Just google them to see some blogs. They don't have their own website, though.
Thanks, Adam and Elisa, for opening your home for some much needed rest and relaxation and for introducing us to a restaurant that has already become a legend in my mind!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Reading and Watching Updates

Tonight, I made quite a few updates in the sections on the right showing what I've been reading and what Sarah and I have been reading or watching together. I'll try to give a quick review of each one.
Sarah and I often read before bed or when traveling. We recently finished Imperial Woman by Pearl Buck. The book is a beautiful insight into the Chinese royal court and to the era of Western encroachment, climaxing in the Boxer Rebellion, and the nearly avoided fall of the Chinese throne. However, it is also an unflinching look at the allure of power and the ability of power to corrupt and deceive even the wisest and noblest. By the end of the book, we were both very ready for it to end, but it was still a good read over all. Also, it helped me understand a little more about attitudes toward authority in Asian culture. My rating: jjj.

My mom gave me The West Wing, seasons 3, 4, and 5 for my birthday. She found them at a very low price at Half Price Book Store. Sarah and I have really enjoyed this intelligent and funny show. The characters are very well developed, and the writers deeply probe important issues facing the USA and the world. We are still watching season 5. Season 3 gets a strong JJJJJ rating. Season 4 only gets jjjj because it was incredibly rushed at the end. They packed 3 episodes with enough drama and change for 6. It felt like bad form, trying to hard to get to a dramatic season ender.

I've finally convinced Sarah to watch the Lord of the Rings series with me, and we've borrowed the extended version DVD's from Joe. Sarah felt exactly like I did after watching The Fellowship of the Ring: "That's it. You're kidding me. We watched 3+ hours of movie, and this is the only ending. They're sailing down a river alone." I know this movie/book is basically just setting the story for the rest of the trilogy, but it still felt disappointing at the end, hence: jjjj.
On the other hand, The Two Towers has perhaps one of the best movie battle scenes ever. The story develops beautifully, and the characters come forward with their full complexity. The extended version retains more of the story of the Ents, which the movie version cut out (and I greatly missed). My rating: JJJJJ.

As for my personal reading, I haven't had as much time as I would like because of my busier schedule this semester. This summer I went a little overboard in the book buying, so I've made a pact, which I'm mostly keeping, that I won't buy any more books until I read all the books I've already bought - not necessarily all of those given me by others.

One of those books was Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning. This book was classic Manning: lots of stories, lots of the same stuff only said better than other people say it, and dry but witty humor. I didn't find it especially profound, but I did find it meaningful for that particular stage in my life. My rating: jjj.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Poker, Poker, Poker

Several of our friends are planning some poker games to raise money for Elena's well through World Vision. Each game has a buy in price and a prize for the top winner. All of the money goes toward the well. (

Poker Preview: Last night, we had a small game in my house. The crowd was slim because of sickness and travel, but we had a good time. We played for the grand prize of some carribean jack salsa and chips, and we raised 50,000 won (around $40) for the well. (Yours truly had the lucky cards and got to keep the salsa.)

Mini-tourney: We are planning a mini tournament on January 10, the Saturday during KNU's winter English camp. This one will just be advertised in-house (around the church and with personal invitations), and we're hoping for 25-30 players. We'll just have it in one of the KNU classrooms.

Big tournament: In late February or early March, we hope to have a large poker tournament with 50 players. We want to rent the nice dining hall on the 7th floor of the Jae 2 Chang Hakwon, and we want to recruit players from all around Cheonan, and maybe beyond. If it gets really big, we might go way over 50 players. We're thinking there might be a 20,000 won buy in, some nicer big prizes like gift certificates to Outback, and a well-organized tournament.

Lots of fun, and if things go well, this could be the start of a tradition that helps us raise money for a good cause and make connections with people who wouldn't normally come to church. So if you like poker, or if you know people who like poker, help us spread the word. If anybody out there wants to help plan or advertise, talk to Kieth Pardue.

(Also, of note, I've requested a poker strategy book from Sarah for Christmas!)

Isaiah 65 - The Birth of a Dream

We're going to start this sermon today with one of my favorite activities: audience participation. Turn to someone around you and answer this question: “Why did Jesus come?” We are preparing for Christmas, right? Why did Jesus bother to enter our world in the first place? Why did Jesus come?

--- Talk in small groups.

--- Shout out answers.

Christians have two basic views of why Jesus came and how Jesus fits into the story of humanity.

In view #1, which has become popular over the past 100 years or so, the world is kind of like an airplane with engine failure. We are loosing altitude. Society is experiencing moral failure. The wings are smoking. This plane called humanity is going down. We are going to crash into the mountain of God's judgment, and everything we've ever known will explode in a ball of fire. Some parts of the Bible definitely sound like this.

In view #1, Jesus functions kind of like an ejection button and parachute. We can see the world going down in smoke. We can see the hell and fire of judgment coming our way, but aha! We also see a red button marked, “Jesus.” We push our little red Jesus button, say a quick prayer, and eject out of planet earth. We are saved by our Jesus parachute which carries us safely to heaven, while the earth burns wildly in the flames of God's judgment.

But there's another perspective in the Bible, another perspective available to us Christians. In view #2 ...

To continue reading this post, click here.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Isaiah 61 - Changed by Hope

KNU International English Church
Josh Broward
December 14, 2008

"From Now On" video.

Now I know what you're thinking after watching that video: “Oh, no. Josh is preaching another one of those depressing sermons. He's even taking Christmas and making it sad. What's up with that?! Christmas is supposed to be happy!”

Let me tell you from the beginning that we'll get there. We'll get to the joy of Christmas today, but first we need to talk about the pain of waiting in the now, the pain of waiting when things don't go well, the pain of a world that is mixed up and not working right.

Have you ever had one of those days when everything seems to go wrong? A little boy named Alexander had one of those days. I want to take a few minutes to read you a story: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst.

To continue reading this post, click here.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Raising a Well

My friend, Elena Willey, has set an amazing goal. She wants to raise enough money to dig a well in a developing nation in one year. The total price for an excellent well through World Vision is US$18,000. Elena is asking all her friends and family to contribute to her well fund instead of giving her Christmas gifts. (No earrings or socks from us this year!) She is planning a variety of fund raisers, including a poker tournament in February (yahoo!!!).
This is such an incredible example of one person deciding to make a big difference. Way to go Elena!
Check out Elena's site for the well project. You can read the articles that influenced her, and if you feel so moved, you can make a donation.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Our Advent Wreath

For the past several years, we have made our own Advent Wreath to use at home. Usually, we don't really have a wreath - just a collection of candles and greenery on our kitchen table. This year, we got some long, thin evergreen branches and cut them into smaller pieces - about 6 inches or 20 centimeters. Then, we laid them around the Christ candle to make something more like an actual wreath.

We light the candle(s) at each meal, and Emma really likes being involved in this little ceremony. It helps us all get into the Advent season and to anticipate the coming of the Messiah.

This year, we found a helpful little site with some background history and a weekly prayer to use when lighting each candle. We'll pray these little one sentence prayers every day when we light the candle. As I type, Emma is copying the prayer onto a sketch pad so that we can use it at our meal times.
I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Isaiah 64 - Where Is God?

KNU International English Church
Josh Broward
November 30, 2008

In 1928, on the border of Hungary and Romania, a Jewish family celebrated the birth of a son. God had blessed them. On the eighth day he was circumcised to show his participation in the covenant God had started with Abraham.

While this boy, Elie Wiesel, was still growing up, World War 2 began. Nazi Germany began moving across Europe sucking nation after nation into its dominating war machine which pretended to be Christian. In 1944, the German authorities put all of the Jews in Elie's home town into a ghetto and later into Auschwitz, a “concentration” camp.

In Auschwitz, Elie and his father endured near starvation, hard work, torture, and watching the death and execution of thousands of others. Elie and two of his sisters survived, but his father, mother, and younger sister all died at Auschwitz.

In his famous book, Night, Elie Wiesel tells of his experiences in a work camp connected to Auschwitz. ...

To continue reading, click here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Ancient-Future Generation

I just read a very good article. It is a basic introduction to postmodernism and the Emerging/Missional Church. I highly recommend it. Click below.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Matthew 27:27-31 - Broken King

Warning: Parts of this week's sermon are not good for children. The text describes Roman soldiers abusing Jesus. We will watch graphic videos of abuse and discuss torture. If you have a small child here today, I strongly recommend that you join the Children's Church for today.

Today is Christ the King Sunday. Around the world today, Christians are celebrating that Jesus is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Supreme Ruler of the Universe.

We are celebrating Christ's Kingship today with one of the most ironic passages in the entire Bible. All week long, I've been thinking of a song that Alanis Morissette sang when I was in high school:

A traffic jam when you're already late
A no-smoking sign on your cigarette break
It's like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife
It's meeting the man of my dreams
And then meeting his beautiful wife
And isn't it ironic...don't you think
A little too ironic...and, yeah, I really do think...

It's like rain on your wedding day
It's a free ride when you've already paid
It's the good advice that you just didn't take
Who would've thought... it figures

Matthew 27:27-31 is deeply ironic. The Roman soldiers give Jesus, the King of Kings, a crown of thorns, a wooden scepter, and a fake robe. As they insult him and poke him, they reveal his true nature as King. Isn't it ironic?

To read more, click here.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Humble Revelation

In 2006, I preached through the book of Revelation. It was THE most challenging preaching experience of my life. I took up the challenge because I was tired of hearing the book misinterpreted so often and because I had never really studied it in depth. In the process, I grew to love this beautiful and challenging book.

My sister April's Sunday School class in Houston, Texas is going to study the book of Revelation this year, so I decided to post my series on a separate blog: Humble Revelation. Check it out. If you have comments, you can post them on either site, and I'll try to reply.

Friday, November 14, 2008


A History of

One Hundred Years of the Church of the Nazarene

The Nazarene Centennial is an anniversary, not a birthday. It marks a marriage that linked existing families and created a new one.

A century ago, the Nazarenes were a predominantly American family with relatives in other countries. Today we are an international family of congregations on every inhabited continent. No single language, race, or nationality claims a majority of our members. As an expression of the Holiness Movement and its emphasis on the sanctified life, our founders came together to form one people who then went forth into the world to become a people of many cultures and languages.

To read the rest of this post, click here.

Korea Tip 96: History of the Church of the Nazarene in Korea - through 1985

Korea, situated in the heart of the Far East, remained for centuries a strangely remote land, ethnically pure, and tied to its ancient traditions. It has been aptly called the “Hermit Nation.” Even the Church of the Nazarene passed it by as it established work in the country's more dominant neighbors, China and Japan.

But the beautiful Land of the Morning Calm was not wholly out of mind. In 1936 Sung-oak Chang, a young Korean student who had gone to Japan to further his education, crossed paths with Rev. W. A. Eckel and Rev. Nobumi Isayama. These men were able to help him become established in the Christian faith and encouraged him to return to his homeland and start a Nazarene church there.

He successfully launched a work in Pyongyang, the capital city of what is now North Korea, and then went down to Seoul, present capital of South Korea, to establish another church. In the latter place he secured an assistant by the name of Huk-soo Sung. The work was officially under the supervision of the Japan mission, but the relationship was apparently quite tenuous.

To read the rest of this post, click here.

Links to Longer Posts

To make this site more reader-friendly, I've started a parallel site: www.humblefuture2.blogspot.com. From now on, I'll try to post the first few paragraphs of an article here. Then, if you are interested, you can follow a link to read the rest of the article.

(Thanks, Dave, for this suggestion. I finally figured out how to make it work.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

2008 Annual Report

Preparing the Foundations

My first time to attend an annual meeting as a pastor, I forgot that I was supposed to give an annual report. I had only been a lead pastor for about two months. Near the end of the meeting, Cathy Williams asked if I had a report to share, and I said something profound like, “Uh, not really.” Every year since then, I've tried to spend some time thinking of an analogy or a story that will help us put the year in perspective. I've talked about zits and puberty, giant flies, Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon, and how God answered a prayer I prayed while walking across a basketball court.

This year, I want to tell a story about some of the times I've worked with my Uncle John. If you think I'm crazy, you should meet my Uncle John! One year for Christmas, the women wanted to have a nice formal dinner, so they asked the men in the family to “dress up” and to put on some “nice clothes.” My Dad and Uncle John disappeared into the bedroom and came out looking like this. (silly picture) I distinctly remember them saying, “What?! We're wearing ties! What else do you want?” (They also had the nice 80's afros going, too.)

Uncle John is also an expert concrete worker. Sometimes during the summers or when I had free time in college, I would work with him doing the concrete work for new houses. The concrete truck drivers said Uncle John was so good that he could do jobs by himself that usually took 10 people to finish. When I helped Uncle John, I usually got all the jobs he didn't want – shoveling rocks, carrying steel, drilling into old concrete. But I also learned a little about what it takes to make a good foundation for a house.

Step 1: Clear and Level the Land. Before you can do anything else, you have to get rid of all the trees and junk, and you have to make the ground fairly smooth and level. No, I never got to drive one of those cool little bulldozers.

Step 2: Set the Forms. Once the ground is level, it's time to set the concrete forms. This is setting the boundaries for where the concrete will go and the shape it will take when you pour.

Step 3: Add and Level Gravel. After the ground is level and the forms are set, you've got to make a solid base for the rest of your work. Somehow you dump in the gravel, and then you use a shovel or a “come-along” - kind of like a hoe – to spread it evenly around the area. This was probably my most common job – because it requires the least skill.

Step 4: Drill into the Existing Structures. Whenever we were making a garage or a driveway, we always had to drill holes into the existing foundation. This would help the new piece attach to what was already there. We did this by using a huge concrete drill. With the bit, it was about 80 centimeters (2 ½ feet) long. Sometimes I went home with my arms and head still shaking because of the vibrations from the drill.

Step 5: Lay and Tie the Steel Rebar. Rebar is specially made steel that keeps the concrete stable and strong. You have to lay it out in a particular pattern and then tie it together with metal wires. If there's not enough rebar, the concrete will crack when the ground shifts and changes.

Step 6: Pour the Concrete. This is when it starts getting fun. The big concrete truck comes out, and you get to wear the cool rubber boots and get all dirty. You have to spread the concrete out and help it evenly and thoroughly fill the forms. Then, as it starts getting hard, you use a variety of tools to smooth it out so that it has that nice flat finish.

Step 7: Build the House. After you've done all of this work on the foundation, then you're finally ready to start building the actual house. But first you've got to do a good job on the foundation.


Instead of just reporting on what happened this year, I'd like to talk about the entire history of our church. Maybe this will help us get a better sense of the significance of this year. In many ways, everything we've done as a church so far has been simply preparing the foundations for the house that God wants to build here.

Step 1: Clear and Level the Land (1995-2001). In many ways, the first 6 years of our church was simply clearing and leveling the land. Our church started as a simple worship service in 1995. The primary goal of this worship service was to give the international teachers of KNU a place to worship in English. Through these six years, we have had 5 different pastors and sometimes no pastor at all. Often we struggled to survive and to keep going.

Step 2: Set the Forms (2001-2004). When John Bondy came to KNU, he quickly took the role of pastor of this struggling worshiping community. He was an experienced pastor, and he helped us make some significant steps. We began to identify ourselves as a congregation – maybe not yet a church – but something more than a group of people who get together on Sunday mornings. We also wrote a constitution to guide us, and we formed the first Advisory Council. We also began developing an understanding that our mission was something larger than the English speakers at KNU. In the spring of 2004, we sent a mission team to Indonesia. This was a great step in thinking and acting beyond ourselves.

Step 3: Add and Level Gravel (2004-2005). KNU asked Sarah and I come to Korea so that I could serve as pastor of this community in the summer of 2004. For the first few years, we were still trying to understand who we are. We did some soul searching and hosted some discussions to help us understand ourselves. Jean Johnson and Patricia Clark helped us write a history of our community up to that point.

During this time, we also made strides in several other areas. More and more people from outside the KNU community began attending our worship service. We had always had some people from outside KNU, but I think it was during time that we first had about 50% of our attendees from outside KNU. Our Advisory Council and our worship band also grew and strengthened.

Step 4: Drill into the Existing Structures (2006-2007). In 2006 we commissioned a Vision Team to complete our search for identity. They answered the call with a clear articulation that God is leading us to be a genuine church, not just a worshiping community. The Vision Team crafted our church motto: TO BE A LOVING COMMUNITY THAT CHANGES OUR WORLD.

Because of our growing identity and our growing attendance, we decided to move to Patch Hall, so that we could comfortably host more people on Sunday mornings. And we also made a big decision – which had its own set of conflicts. We decided to change the time of our worship service to 10:30 am. Up to this time, we had been meeting at 9:00 am, so that some of our people could also attend a Korean worship service. But we decided that God was leading us to be a church for people who didn't already go to another church. Most of them would be more likely to attend at a later time. Even though, some people strongly disagreed at the time, history has proven this to be a very good choice.

In 2007, we formally joined the Church of the Nazarene on the Korea National District. This was a big step for us, “cementing” our identity as a “real church.”

During this era, we also enjoyed an increasingly strong and diverse Advisory Council. In 2006, for the first time ever, we had more than one Korean serving on the Advisory Council, and in 2007 for the first time ever, we had several returning Advisory Council members. We also made progress in other ways. Our children's program grew by leaps and bounds, and Stan Martin helped us start Compassionate Hearts Ministries – a beautiful group, helping us reach out to those who need help right here in Cheonan.

Step 5: Lay and Tie the Steel Rebar (2008). This step is developing the supporting structures, which will hold us together and keep us strong. This year, we've made progress in a host of ways. Every team on the Advisory Council has grown in some way. We have made a new website which should be up and running any day now. We have increased stability in giving, attendance, and leadership. It seems like every week we are growing and becoming more diverse. But the biggest area of progress this year has been through the Planning Team. Our Planning Team identified our mission as the motto which we'd already been using: TO BE A LOVING COMMUNITY THAT CHANGES OUR WORLD.

The Planning Team also identified the three core points of our vision:

1) Renewed by God's Love

2) Multicultural Community

3) Global Change through Local Action

The Planning Team's full recommendations are part of the packet you all received tonight. It's pretty long, and the members of the team will give some highlights later. For now, let me just give you a brief overview of each of these points.

1) Renewed by God's Love means being renewed by God's love to love God, ourselves, and others. This will involve a lot of different stuff for us. First of all, it means that each of us needs to work to be healthy. We also need healthy families. We will also try to let God’s love soak into us so that we live out his love more in our daily lives. Finally, we are going to develop great leaders who will practice leadership here and learn skills that will help them and their churches wherever they go.

2) Multicultural Community means that we are embracing our diversity as God brings us together through Christ. Obviously, our church is very multicultural, but we want to make “multicultural-ness” and community core components of everything we do. To accomplish this part of our vision, we will need teams that focus on welcoming new people, hosting events and celebrations, forming friendship partners, giving support to our community, and getting out information and publicity about our church.

3) Global Change through Local Action means nurturing our local community to care for others here and abroad. We want to do this in two basic ways. First, we are going to work through Compassionate Hearts Ministries to reach out to the poor and needy here in Cheonan. Second, we want to form a long-term partnership with a poor community in another country. Instead of doing a little here and a little there, we will focus our efforts on improving lives, strengthening Christian community, and forming real friendships with one group of people in a struggling community.

Step 6: Pour the Concrete (2008-2009). This is when we put the finishing touches on our foundation. Part of that will happen right here in this meeting when we vote on the Planning Team's recommendations and when we vote about having a full-time pastor. We'll finish the rest of the foundation as we connect each part of the plan to one of the Advisory Council teams and set target dates for each goal or for portions of each goal. When we complete these steps, we will finally have finished our foundation for action.

Step 7: Build the House (2009 onward). This is when the real fun starts. Everything we've been doing up to now as a church has been building up to this time. We finally understand who we are. We finally understand where God is leading us. We finally understand what it will take to do what God is calling us to do. We finally have the resources to provide the leadership we will need to fulfill our vision.

This is the time. This is the dawn of a new era in our church.

This year is the time when we really and truly begin to live out our vision. This year is the time when we get to turn our plans into actions. This year is the time when we begin to make our dreams a reality right here in this place.

As we grow closer to God and closer to each other …

As we learn about each other and learn about our world …

As we become friends with each other and friends with our neighbors and coworkers …

As we learn to give and to serve more faithfully …

As love begins to saturate everything we do …

As our programs and structures and organic, unplanned activities all come together to make us better people together than we could ever be alone …

As we develop connections with people who live far from us but desperately need us …

As our worship services become more rich and full …

As our conversations become more real and honest and grace-filled …

As our lives become more relaxed …

As we have more and more fun together even as we give more and more together …

Then we will be a loving community that changes our world.

And we will look back on this time and say, those were some of the best years of our lives.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Celebrating 100th and 60th Anniversaries

KNU International English Church
Josh Broward

November 9, 2008

Celebrating our Anniversaries
th Anniversary of Church of the Nazarene and 60th Anniversary of Nazarenes in Korea)
Isaiah 35:1-10, Acts 2:1-12, 38-47, Matthew 25:31-46

My grandparents, my Mom's parents, have been married for a very long time – about 67 years now. For anyone to be married for this long, you must have deep love, undying commitment, and - of course - a very early start. When my grandparents got married, my granddad was 18, and my grandma was 15, but she's quick to say “almost 16!” My granddad always says, “Yeah, she was two months past her 15th birthday.”

I remember two great family celebrations. The first was when I was in middle school. It was my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary. We got all of the kids and grandkids together for a big family party at my grandparents' small ranch in Arkansas. They kept that 50th anniversary marker off the cake for a long time. They probably still have it.

Then, two years ago, they threw a huge family party for their 65th wedding anniversary. This time they went all out. They rented a huge room at a restaurant and invited all of the kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, cousins, and family friends. There were probably more than 100 people there. We were celebrating their incredible marriage, but we were also celebrating their beautiful lives and this wonderful collection of family and friends.

Those two wedding anniversaries will always rank among my favorite memories.

Today, we have the privilege of celebrating two great anniversaries – the 100th anniversary of the Church of the Nazarene and the 60th anniversary of the Church of the Nazarene in Korea. Both of these are amazing and beautiful stories.

Let's start with the beginnings of the Church of the Nazarene itself.

Today, we read part of the story of Pentecost from Acts chapter 2. On the day of Pentecost, God poured out his Holy Spirit on the very first church meeting in Jerusalem. The Church of the Nazarene grew out of a great desire for the Church to become a church of Pentecost again. In the second half of the 19th century, people all around America met together regularly in prayer meetings, “revival services,” and “camp meetings” to ask God to purify their hearts and to purify their churches.

The Church of the Nazarene is a direct result of this great passion for a renewal of the fires of the Holy Spirit as seen at Pentecost. For many years our name was “The Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene.” In fact, you can see on the logo for the Church of the Nazarene two symbols for the Holy Spirit – fire (like at Pentecost) and the dove (like at Jesus’ baptism).

For a variety of reasons, many of the Christians who encountered God at these revivals and camp meetings didn't feel welcome in their more traditional churches. All around America and Canada, independent movements began to spring up, gathering together in regional groups. In the early 1900s, but especially in 1908 many of these regional groups “got married” and formed the Church of the Nazarene. From the first day of the formation of the Church of the Nazarene, we were international, with churches and mission work in USA, Canada, India, Cape Verde, Mexico, and Japan (and soon China, Guatemala, and Africa).

What brought all of these people together? From the beginnings of the Church of the Nazarene down through the present, we have always had two unifying themes: holiness and missions. Nazarenes have always believed deeply that God calls us to represent him to our world. Being God's representatives means being like God and acting like God – holiness and missions. In a lot of ways, these are basically the same thing.

John Goodwin was one of the first General Superintendents of the Church of the Nazarene. (This is the highest level of leadership in our denomination.) In 1920 he wrote, “Pure religion has and always will have two sides, purity and service. To neglect service in the welfare of others is to demonstrate a lack of purity. Holiness people should be preeminent in social service. This is what chiefly characterized the Early Church – their untiring service to their fellowmen and their care for widows and fatherless children.”1

Early Nazarenes lived this without fail. The very first church to use the name “Church of the Nazarene” was an inner city mission for the poor of Los Angeles. Nazarenes around the world built orphanages, schools, hospitals, and other ministries to reach the poor and endangered. Let me give you just a few examples of Nazarene activities in the first 25 years of the 1900s.

  • In India Nazarenes started an orphanage and school for orphaned girls.

  • In Bethany, Oklahoma in the USA, Nazarenes started an orphanage for abandoned babies, and workers often cared for large numbers of infants at one time.

  • In Ta Ming Fu, China, Nazarenes started the Bresee Memorial Hospital with 100 beds. (After World War 2, this compound was taken by the government, and the church moved “underground.”)

  • In Kansas City, Chicago, Tennessee, Texas, and many other places, Nazarenes built “rescue homes” for unmarried girls who got pregnant, many of them prostitutes.

Throughout the history of the Church of the Nazarene, we have affirmed what Miss Lue Miller wrote in 1917 regarding Nazarene rescue homes: “'Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and for ever.' The Friend of sinners still, the Hope of the penitent outcast, the Redeemer of man or woman of many sins. The loving compassionate heart still beats with tender love over the bruised and broken. The water of life is still being given out by the Master. The setting is different, but the story is about the same...”2

After 100 years, we have 1.6 million Nazarenes in more than 150 countries. As John Bondy likes to say, the Church of the Nazarene is in more countries than McDonald's. All around the world, these 1.6 million Nazarenes are working together to continue our two basic themes: living like God and sharing God's grace and healing with those around us.

Now let's talk about the Church of the Nazarene in Korea.3 Maybe we can have a little fun with this by turning this into a quiz. (But don't cheat! If you have the manuscript, try to resist the temptation to look ahead and see the answers.)

Question 1: When was the first Church of the Nazarene in Korea started?

  1. Around 1908

  2. Around 1938

  3. Around 1948

  4. Around 1995.

You probably think the right answer is 1948 since we're celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Church of the Nazarene, but actually the correct answer is B. In 1936 Chang Sung-Oak went to Japan to study. While in Japan, he met some Nazarene missionaries and pastors. They “discipled” him – which means they helped him understand how to be a Christian and what Christians believe. Then, they challenged him to return to Korea to start a Nazarene church there.

Question 2: Where was the first Church of the Nazarene in Korea?

  1. Cheonan

  2. Seoul

  3. PyoungYang

  4. Busan

This is pretty cool. Pastor Chang returned to Korea and started the first Korean Nazarene church in PyongYang (now North Korea) in about 1937 or 1938. After that church was stable, he helped Seong Heok-Soo start a church in Seoul. However, the connection between these churches and the international Church of the Nazarene was not very strong.

After World War II, North Korea became a dangerous place for Christians. Pastor Chang and most of the PyongYang church moved to Seoul. (Interestingly, Nazarenes in the US military were regular attenders in that early Nazarene church. As pastor of an international Nazarene church, I find it amazing and encouraging that one of the first Nazarene churches here was also multicultural near its beginning.)

Question 3: Why is 1948 celebrated as the beginning of the Church of the Nazarene in Korea?

  1. The number 1948 is connected to end-times predictions in the book of Revelation.

  2. Bill Patch was born in 1948.

  3. The first Nazarene missionaries came to Korea in 1948.

  4. A collection of independent churches merged together to for the Korean Church of the Nazarene in 1948.

In 1947, a famous Korean preacher named Jung NamSoo visited the USA. While traveling around the USA gaining support for his work in Korea, Jung NamSoo met several of Nazarene leaders. They encouraged him to join the Church of the Nazarene and give more organization to the Nazarene work in Korea.

Jung agreed, and he did more than that. He also talked to the pastors of several independent churches and encouraged them to join the Church of the Nazarene. In October of 1948, General Superintendent Orval Nease organized 9 congregations with 835 members into the Korea District of the Church of the Nazarene. (The Jung NamSoo building at the top of the hill is named after this early leader.)

Question 4: Who were the first Nazarene missionaries in Korea?

  1. Bill and Gail Patch

  2. Josh and Sarah Broward

  3. Don and Adeline Owens

  4. Korea has never had official Nazarene missionaries.

When the Nazarene leaders sent Jung NamSoo back to Korea to organize the Nazarene Church, they promised to send a missionary couple to help out. The Korean War slowed down their plans, but they sent Donald and Adeline Owens to Korea in 1954. Don Owens had graduated from Bethany Nazarene College and pastored in the USA for a few years, but he was still very young. When he got to Korea, some of the Korean leaders secretly complained that they asked for missionaries, but instead, “they have sent us boy scouts.” (I expect that some people in our church felt the same way about me!) However, God helped out a little. After Don Owens' first sermon, 30 people decided to become Christians.

The Owenses got right to work. One of their first tasks was rebuilding and restocking after the Korean War. Many churches and homes were damaged. In less than four months, they had opened Nazarene Bible College, which is now Korea Nazarene University. The building was an old burned-out missionaries home.

Question 5: How many students did the Nazarene Bible College (KNU) have on the first day?

  1. 4

  2. 24

  3. 204

  4. 2,004

Remember those two themes that are part of the Nazarene DNA: Holiness and Missions. God transforms us to be holy and loving like he is, and then we live out his love and grace in our world. Korean Nazarenes have lived these out from the very beginning. Korean Nazarenes have been serious about following Jesus, and they have been intense about sharing his grace with others.

Much of the time, they have tried to live out these two core points by planting new churches and talking to friends and neighbors about Jesus. In the early days, they enacted a plan called “The Moving Nazarene Family.” A Nazarene family would move to a new town and hold Bible studies in their homes. If the Bible studies went well, they would start a house church and later build a church building.

  • In 1954, after the Korean War, we had 8 churches and 400 members.

  • In 1957, we had 23 churches and 1,332 members.

  • In 1963, we had 39 churches and nearly 3,000 members.

  • In 1970, we had 70 churches and 6,155 members.

  • In 1972, we had 79 churches and 7,126 members.

  • In 1973, Korea hosted the Billy Graham crusade. 1.1 million people attended the final rally in Seoul, the single largest Christian gathering in history. In 1973, the Church of the Nazarene doubled to 125 churches and 16,532 members. (1973 was also the year Bill and Gail Patch came to Korea.)

  • In 1985 we had 161 churches and 28,006 members.

  • Now, in 2008, we have 280 churches and 21,000 members. (In the last few years, we have been growing.)

Korean Nazarenes are also living out our Nazarene DNA by sending missionaries. Korea now sends more Nazarene missionaries than any other country except the USA.

In 1979 Korea Nazarene Theological College (later called KNU) moved to a very small town called Cheonan. Around 1996, this small college made the transition to a full university, specializing in rehabilitation, special education, and social welfare, preparing people to serve those who are most neglected and needy. Since 1996, KNU has experienced amazing growth. KNU Is now the largest Nazarene university in the world.

Question 6: How many students does Korea Nazarene University have now?

  1. 1,000

  2. 3,000

  3. 5,000

  4. 7,000

Every year, the Korean Ministry of Education ranks different universities according to major, and every year KNU is the #1 university for rehabilitation. This is one way we are living out our Nazarene DNA of caring for those who most need our help. As KNU becomes an international university, we're starting to include people from many countries in this Nazarene DNA of living like Jesus and sharing his healing grace with others.

We are part of a beautiful story. We are part of a story that started when God created Adam and Eve, a story that continued with the call of Abraham and his family, the coming of Jesus the Messiah, the birth of the Church at Pentecost, the struggle and growth and service of the church throughout the world.

And we are part of a particular story of a particular people within this beautiful story. We are part of a people who felt God's call to be holy and missional Christians. They deeply longed to be like Jesus and to live like Jesus by serving others. They became the Church of the Nazarene 100 years ago. They started churches and hospitals and schools all over the world, eventually entering Korea and starting the Church of the Nazarene here 60 years ago.

How do we fit into this story? The Nazarene DNA are expressed in our church's vision. We want to be renewed by God's love to love God, ourselves and others; this is holiness. We want to cause global change through local action; this is missions. And we're living out this Nazarene DNA as a multicultural community. For any of you who have experience with other Nazarene churches, most of you would say that we are different. We're a different kind of Nazarene church, but we are truly Nazarene. The Nazarene DNA runs deeply in us. The Nazarene DNA is fundamental to who God is calling us to be: holiness and mission, God's love changing us and our world.

Today, we are celebrating with the 1.6 million Nazarenes around the world – in Venezuela, in New Zealand, in Tanzania, in Holland, in England, in Russia, in Japan, in South Africa, in Guyana, and in Korea, and in 140 other countries. Around the world, we have become a global loving community that is changing our world.

1John Goodwin, Herald of Holiness, (November 10, 1920). Quoted in Rescue the Perishing, Care for the Dying: Sources and Documents on Compassionate Ministry in the Nazarene Archives, Stan Ingersol, Ed., 2nd Edition.

2Lue Miller, “Thanksgiving for Our Rescue Work,” Herald of Holiness, November 28, 1917. Cited in Rescue the Persihing.

3All information about the history of the Church of the Nazarene in Korea is from: J. Fred Parker, Mission to the World: A History of Missions in the Church of the Nazarene through 1985 (Kansas City, MO, USA: NPH, 1988), 309-322.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Advent of Good Salsa

Amazed. Flabbergasted. Shocked. Delighted. Incredulous.
There are hardly words to express my joy in finding this beautiful bottle of bold, biting, flavorful salsa in our cupboard yesterday.
I added salsa to our shopping list, expecting to get the overpriced, undersized weak imitation of salsa, made in (I'm not kidding you) Belgium. I've got nothing against Belgians, and I've got to support targeting an unfulfilled marketing niche. This stuff is better than nothing (which is what we sometimes get in Korea), but Belgians just don't know what salsa is supposed to taste like!
I was totally floored to open our cupboard door last night and find some "Pain Is Good - Batch #114 Jamaican Pineapple Salsa"!!! The people at Original Juan Specialty Foods in Kansas City, Kansas, USA, have absolutely figured out the art of scrumptious, well-rounded salsas (and other knock your top off sauces). This flavor is labeled "Wussy Mild," which makes it fitting for Sarah and Emma as well.

However, I look forward to making a trip back to E-Mart to garner some of the Batch #37 Habanero Garlic Salsa. It's so hot, you can only eat a few chips full in one sitting. That's what I'm talking about!
Three cheers for Korean stores carrying more imports!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Free Rice Upgrades

I'm a huge fan of www.freerice.com. I encourage my students to practice their English at this site. For every correct answer, this website gives 20 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program to help people in crisis situations in struggling countries like: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Uganda, Nepal, Bhutan, and Myanmar.
Now Free Rice has upgraded. They have expanded beyond their original vocabulary game to include quizzes on a wide variety of subjects: famous paintings, chemistry, English vocabulary, English grammar, geography, French, Spanish, Italian, German, and Math.
I played the geography game today. It's fun, and I'm learning a lot about our world. Check it out.
So far (since their beginning in October of 2007), Free Rice has raised 48.5 billion grains of rice. That's enough to feed 2.5 million people two square meals a day.
Way to go Free Rice! Thanks for being creative with how to help those who most need our help.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Emma Update

Emma is amazing us with her thoughtful questions and better understanding of the world. She keeps asking us questions like, "How tall is the biggest tree?" and "Do ants sleep?" We are so glad for the internet, where we learned that, yes, ants do seem to go into a type of hibernation and redwoods can be more than twice as tall as our 15 story apartment building.

Last night Emma and Sarah were working out with an exercise tape. Sarah thought Emma would do half the video with her then Emma could take her bath and Sarah would finish. They had finished the arms and abs sections, but then the next part came up and Emma begged, "Please, I need to do the thinks part, too, Mommy. What are thinks?" (thighs) Sarah let her continue and every few minutes she would yell out, "Am I doing it right?" or "Oh, that hurts, I'm getting stronger, Mommy!" Working out with a five-year-old has never been Sarah's idea of fun, but they did have a good time last night.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Matthew 23:1-12 - Learning Humility

KNU International English Church
Josh Broward

October 26, 2008

Read Matthew 23:1-12.

In today's text, Matthew returns to some of his favorite themes: living what you say you believe, humility, equality, and service. Today, instead of going deeply into the Jewish world again, we're going to tell stories of how this text gets lived out in our world.

You get to tell the first stories. In that last verse, Jesus said:

  • Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted (NLT).

  • If you put yourself above others, you will be put down. But if you humble yourself, you will be honored. (CEV)

  • Whoever makes himself great will be made humble. Whoever makes himself humble will be made great. (NCV)

When has this happened to you? When have you been proud, but then humbled?

Get into groups of two or three and answer tell some stories. Answer these questions together.

Let's read the text again, this time from a modern paraphrase called The Message.

1-3 Now Jesus turned to address his disciples, along with the crowd that had gathered with them. "The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers in God's Law. You won't go wrong in following their teachings on Moses. But be careful about following them. They talk a good line, but they don't live it. They don't take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It's all spit-and-polish veneer.

4-7"Instead of giving you God's Law as food and drink by which you can banquet on God, they package it in bundles of rules, loading you down like pack animals. They seem to take pleasure in watching you stagger under these loads, and wouldn't think of lifting a finger to help. Their lives are perpetual fashion shows, embroidered prayer shawls one day and flowery prayers the next. They love to sit at the head table

at church dinners, basking in the most prominent positions, preening in the radiance of public flattery, receiving honorary degrees, and getting called 'Doctor' and 'Reverend.'

8-10"Don't let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don't set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of 'Father'; you have only one Father, and he's in heaven. And don't let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.

11-12"Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you'll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you're content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.

Richard Paul Evans tells our second story in a little book called

The Tower. It's about a young man who lived long ago in China. Here's how the story starts:

There was once a young man who desired to be great. But he did not know how to become great. So he went to the oldest man in the small village where he lived, for all trusted the old man and considered him wise.

'What is it to be great?'” the young man asked.

'To be great is to be looked up to,' said the old man.

The young man considered his words. Then, he went home and built himself a platform to stand on. He took his platform to the center of the village and stood on it. 'Now everyone must look up to me.'

But not everyone did. That afternoon a very tall man walked by.

'I must build a taller platform,' he said. He sawed off a bamboo pole and added longer legs to his platform. Now he could see the top of the villagers' heads. 'Now I am greater than they,' he said, looking down on all the people. 'They all must look up to me.'”

'Not I,' said a small voice.

He glanced around. A little girl stared down at him from the window of a pagoda.1

As the story goes on, the young man gathered wood from all around town, and he built his platform into a tower that stood higher than any of the other buildings. He was higher than anyone else in his village, but he was also alone. There was no one to talk to. There was no one to laugh with. Eating every meal alone made him feel very lonely. But he told himself that loneliness is a small price to pay for greatness, and anyway, “Why would he want to associate with those so much lower than himself?"

He cheered himself up by saying, “Now I am so high that everyone must look up to me.”

He was surprised to hear a small voice say, “We don't,” and he saw the birds flying over his head.

The young man was devastated, “How can I ever be someone everyone looks up to?”

Then, the little bird said told him of a woman that even the birds look up to. The bird leads the young man down from his tower to meet a poor old woman who was bent over with age. She stood there, half bent over, feeding the birds all winter long. The bird explained that without this woman many of the birds would die during the cold winter, when there was not much food, so they all looked up to her as a great woman.

The young man and the woman began to talk, and the woman gave him some wise advise. "Being seen and being great are not the same thing.... To be great is not to be seen by, but to truly see, others." She went on to explain that a great person is not someone who is higher than other people. Instead, a great person is someone who helps to lift others higher.

The young man thought long and hard about this. As he walked the streets and the snow fell, he began to see that many of the people were cold in the dead of winter. They didn't have enough wood for their fires. The young man got an ax and went to his tower. He began chopping and tearing down his tower of greatness. He made stacks and stacks of fire wood, and he walked door to door around the town giving firewood to anyone who needed it.

Much to his surprise, everyone in the town begins to look up to him. He becomes known as a great man with a generous heart.

(Towers of pride make great firewood!)

Our third story is really a collection of stories about how God has used this text to work in my life. Humility is hard for us religious leaders, and we often mess it up. God has used this text to speak to me in a variety of different ways that might be helpful for us to talk about today.

First, look at verse 4, “Instead of giving you God's Law as food and drink by which you can banquet on God, they package it in bundles of rules, loading you down like pack animals.” This is a perpetual problem for us pastors. We clearly hear God's call to live a better life, and we try to communicate that to our people. However, far too often, we end up adding rules and burdens to people's already full lives instead of helping them experience God's freeing grace. If you've heard me preach or talked to me for very long, you know that care for the poor is one of my deep passions. But I can get going so strongly on care for the poor that I can help us all forget the grace of God for us here and now. Many times my sermons sounded like, “Work harder. Give more. Pray more. Serve more.”

One of the questions I'm asking myself lately is how can we help people have a living encounter with the Jesus who said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Second, my Dad was a great salesman. He could sell anyone almost anything. One of his supervisors joked that when Dad's clients said “No,” then Dad just turned his hearing aids down and kept going.

My Dad was convinced that wearing the right clothes was essential for business. He was a firm believer in the Dress for Success philosophy. My Dad passed on to me his knowledge of exactly what kind of clothes powerful and trustworthy leaders are supposed to wear. I knew exactly how long a shirt sleeve is supposed to be (to the base of your thumbs when your arms are straight), how long a suit coat is supposed to be (It should sit just so in your cupped hands), how to know if a coat fits right all the way around (The rear “vent” should lay flat even when buttoned), and what kind of ties are appropriate (stripes, dots, and simple patterns – no flowers or pictures, and definitely nothing shiny!).

When I first came to this church, about four years ago, I kept my Dad's philosophy of dressing for success. I knew that Koreans usually dress up, and I wanted people to respect me, so every Sunday, and almost every day that I taught classes, I wore a suit and tie. I know that may be hard for some of you to believe now, but I really went all out.

However, after a while, it all began to feel hollow for me, and I began to think of verse 5: “Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels.” The prayer boxes and tassels were actually good things that the Jews were supposed to wear to help them remember God and his saving work in Israel's history. However, some people wanted to show off their religious commitment, so the prayer boxes got bigger and the tassels got longer.

For me, the suits and ties began to feel the same way. It all began to feel like something for show. What is the point of wearing a suit in the middle of the summer? It's not to keep you warm! It's just to show that you are a powerful person. The point is exactly to separate you from the “common” people. And what is the point of a tie? It has no function. You can't use it as a napkin or do anything good with it. It's just for show. It just says, “I'm important. Look at me.”

For me, following Jesus' way of simple humility, meant ditching the suits and ties. I'll still wear a suit for a wedding or a funeral, but that's about it. The rest of the time, I just want to be a simple guy like everyone else. I'm not saying everyone needs to do this, but this is one way I'm trying to follow Jesus.

Here's another one. When I first came here, I always introduced myself as Pastor Josh. I signed my emails as Pastor Josh. It was like “Pastor” became my first name. I thought that using the title of “Pastor” was important because I was so young. I though it would help people respect me and see me as a pastor. (I don't think it did. I think it just made me look stuck up.)

After a while, God began to talk to me about this, too. I began to think about Jesus' words in verses 8 and 10: “Don't let anyone call you 'Rabbi,' for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. … And don't let anyone call you 'Teacher,' for you have only one teacher, the Messiah.” I stopped signing my emails as Pastor Josh. Recently, I've stopped putting “pastor” by my name on the sermons.

If you feel more comfortable calling me, “Pastor Josh,” I don't think that's such a big deal. It does help differentiate me from “the other Josh.” But I don't think you should give me special treatment. I'm just another member of this church trying to do my part to help us be faithful to God's calling. My prayers aren't any stronger because I'm a pastor. My thoughts or opinions aren't necessarily right because I'm a pastor. I hope you'll treat me just like any other person trying to follow Jesus here.

The last way that God has used this passage to work in my life is the most personal. It's kind of ironic, or perhaps God's timing, that we are talking about this text today. Last week, our Advisory Council affirmed the Planning Team's recommendation that our church hire me as a full-time pastor near the beginning of 2009. I'm really excited about this, but this is not the first time that our Advisory Council has been through this process.

In 2006, I strongly pushed the Advisory Council to make the same decision. It wasn't a bad decision. It was just too early and handled in all the wrong ways. Unfortunately, I didn't have a good attitude about it. I came into the meeting with specific demands about income and housing. As the leader of the meeting, I was impatient and not a good listener. I didn't allow enough time for discussion and thinking and praying, and I pushed for a quick decision. In America, we would say, I “railroaded” the decision through. I thought I was doing the best thing for the church, but as I look back, I was more concerned about getting my way.

Well, like Jesus says, “Those who exalt themselves will be humbled.” When my leadership mistakes began to add up, some of the church leaders put on the brakes. I had to “eat some humble pie” and relearn how to be a faithful leader. We spent about 3 months just sorting through conflict and cultural misunderstandings. We tossed aside the decision to make me full-time, and we spent the rest of the year just learning how to work better together.

Then, about a year ago, we called together a team of people to rework our vision and to suggest some long term plans for our church. At one point this summer, we gathered together some additional leaders of the church to discuss the issue of pastoring. We considered the alternatives of full-time pastoring and a combination of several part-time pastors. Everyone at the meeting agreed that the best thing for our church would be to have a full-time pastor as soon as we could afford it.

This summer, after my Dad died, I began to reevaluate some things. When I got back to Korea, I called a meeting of those same leaders. I reminded them that everyone agreed we should have a full-time pastor as soon as we could afford it, and I explained that I'm ready to be a full-time pastor here no matter what the pay is – even if it's only the 300,000 won a month stipend I'm getting now. The Planning Team is now recommending that the church hire me as a full-time pastor for a salary of 2,000,000 won a month. “If you put yourself above others, you will be put down. But if you humble yourself, you will be honored” (CEV).

OK, you get to tell the last story. But first we're going to read our Epistle Lesson from James 3:13-18.

Now, get back into your groups and answer this question:

Imagine your life with more true humility. What would it look like?

1Richard Paul Evans, The Tower: A Story of Humility, (Simon and Schuster, 2001). The portion in italics is a direct quote. However, the remaining portions are personal elaborations based on summaries in online book reviews.