Thursday, October 29, 2009

Theology of Sexuality (Sex Series: Week 1)

Sometimes people ask me why we are doing a sermon series on sex. One of my pastor friends was completely shocked when I told him. It’s dangerous and difficult to talk about sex so publicly. People might get offended. I might say something wrong. This is a hard topic to talk about, so why are we doing it.

Well, sexuality is an essential part of our humanity. We might avoid talking about our sexuality, but we can’t avoid our sexuality. It is always with us because it is part of our humanness.

Also, sex has deep spiritual and theological implications. We’ll talk about that more today.

And, we’re talking about sex simply because it is dangerous and difficult to talk about. We shouldn’t take the easy way out. We should run into the most difficult, most dangerous topics and address them directly. We should live in the storm of life because it doesn’t stop storming just because we talk about nice things.

To be honest, it was kind of hard to get this series started. I couldn’t find any jokes that wouldn’t get me fired. I didn’t even try to find any videos that were … appropriate. And Sarah made me promise not tell any personal stories.

The way some Christians talk about sex, one wonders how Christians ever have children. Sometimes, Christians have said some pretty bad things about sex. So we’ll start by talking about some of the negative views on sex that Christians have held or taught. ...

To continue reading this post, click here.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Going to St. Louis

We'll be going to St. Louis tomorrow. Sarah's sister, Elizabeth, is marrying a great guy named Michael on Saturday. We'll head out tomorrow morning, and we'll be back 7 days later. We'll have a grand total of 5 days in the USA. Two of those days Emma and I will be driving down to Little Rock to visit my grandparents.

Emotional Baggage (Personal Health Series - Week 4)

We’re starting today with something we haven’t done in a while: audience participation time. I’m tired of doing all the talking, so I want you folks to get more involved. Here’s your question: What did you pack when you came to Cheonan? (If you happen to be one of the few people here born in Cheonan, then maybe you can answer: “What did you pack on your last big trip?”) First, turn to someone nearby and tell them a few things you packed.


OK. Now shout out some of your answers. What did you pack when you came to Cheonan?


We all packed the normal stuff: clothes, shoes, books, a toothbrush, maybe a computer. But we may have been packing more than we realized.

  • Did anyone pack along some bitterness?
  • How about some old wounds that just haven’t healed?
  • Has anyone discovered deep feelings of unworthiness hiding in your suitcase?
  • You might be like me and have a strong hunger for approval in your carry-on.
  • Maybe you take resentment with you everywhere you go.

Today is our fourth week in our series on personal health, and we’re talking about emotional baggage. Emotional baggage is all deep down hidden stuff that we rarely see but really affects our lives. It’s like an American Express card. We “don’t leave home without it.” ...

To continue this post, click here.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Firsts Following Firsts (Annual Report 2009)

This fall we are 15 years old. (So how old are we in Korean years?) To get a feeling for how much we've grown, I thought it might be fun for us to look at some of our previous “firsts.”

  • The first baby born in our church (Jenny Mitchel's daughter 2001). (The next baby was Esther Kim in 2006.)

  • The first Advisory Council was elected in 2003. For our first 8 years before that, we were just a hodge-podge group that worshiped together.

  • Our first mission trip (Indonesia, 2004). We are now planning our fourth, and we're hoping to do one every year.

  • Our first year with regular heat in the winter (2005). That may not seem like such a big deal, but it's easier to worship when you don't have to wear gloves and a hat just to stay warm!

  • Our first store room – a tiny janitors closet, which we were forced to get because we bought a drum set (2005).

  • Our first assistant pastor - Hoom Jeong (2005)

  • Our first big attendance day: 79 (2005). We were really excited about 79 people back then!

  • More than 50% of our regular attenders from outside the KNU community (2005)

  • First after church snack time – started just once a month (2005). I remember our fellowship team feeling really concerned about trying to do it every week.

  • First website – a free blog that Susan Kim set up for us (2005)

  • First church members to get married (Mark and Naomi, 2005)

  • First baptisms (2006)

  • First time to have organized children and youth activities (2006)

  • First time worshiping in Patch Hall and at a “normal” time (2006). Before this, our worship services began bright and early at 9 a.m.

  • First time to have more than one Korean on the Advisory Council (2006)

  • First time to have more than one returning Advisory Council member (2007)

  • First time to take in members and to be an official Church of the Nazarene (2007)

  • First church soccer team (2007) ...

To continue reading this post, click here.


Culture Shock (Personal Health Series: Week 3)

<<Culture Shock Video>>

Everyone gets culture shock. It's normal. It's healthy. It's unavoidable. It's also funny and annoying and depressing and depleting and confusing and sneaky. (Sometimes you are having culture shock even when you don't realize it.) Here in this church, we are blessed or cursed with more culture shock than the average community.

The Bible often deals with themes of culture shock. When the Israelites left Egypt, they complained, “We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted. But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!” (Numbers 11:5-6). One of my friends is an engineering executive at a Korean company here in Cheonan. He told me when he sends his Korean engineers to England for training, they pack one suitcase with clothes and one suitcase with ramyeon! Food has always been part of culture shock.

When the leaders of Israel were captured and taken into exile in Babylon, they wrested with culture shock, and they were tempted toward isolation. But God sent them a message through Jeremiah: “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children. ... Multiply! Do not dwindle away! And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare” (Jeremiah 29:4-7).

But culture shock isn't always pretty. ...

To continue reading this sermon, click here.