Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thunder Farting Leadership (And Other Ways to Change the World): Community Basics

KNU International English Church
May 2, 2010
Josh Broward

Today, we are continuing our series on Community Basics. We come to a basic issue: Leadership. (You’ll have to wait till the end to understand this title. That should keep you interested!)
Leadership is a must in any organization, but we often get confused about what leadership really is. Leadership is influence. Leadership is affecting change. Leaders are not always at the front or at the “top.” Influence and change can come from anywhere in the organization, family, or system. Leadership is not constant. It shifts and moves. Sometimes one person exercises more leadership. Sometimes another person steps forward with a special gift or moment of leadership. Leadership happens in different measures all at the same time. Everyone shares some influence in every environment.
In some ways, we’re all leaders. In fact, there are some basic forms of leadership to which we are all called.

1. EXAMPLE: This is the most fundamental truth of leadership. We are all leaders through our example. ...

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Reconciliation: Community Basics - Week 2

KNU International English Church
April 18, 2010
Josh Broward

Today we continue our series on the basics of Christian community, and I need to start with a disclaimer. In any church of our size, there are usually some conflicts brewing or hiding below the happy smiles and handshakes. Over the past few months, I have talked with some of you about various kinds of conflicts. Today, you might feel like I’m preaching at you in particular. You might feel like I’m aiming my pastoral guns right at your heart. You need to know that I chose this sermon topic in November of last year, and I already had in mind in November most of what I’m going to say today. This topic isn’t because of you. We’re talking about reconciliation because this is a fundamental issue for Christian community. We always need reconciliation.
Jesus died for reconciliation.
The most important Jewish prayer is about the unity of God: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Deuteronomy 6:4). There is one God, one Creator. There is one creation made by one God to live in one whole, loving relationship.
The great tragedy of our world is the breaking of this oneness. We have become fragmented. We are disconnected from God. We are disconnected from others. We are disconnected from our environment. We are disconnected from our very selves.
Jesus died for reconciliation. God died to bring us back to God’s essential oneness - whole and loving relationship.
Reconciliation is the heart of the Gospel. What is broken can be healed. What is separated can be rejoined. Enemies can become friends. Rebels can become sons and daughters again.
Jesus died for reconciliation.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter 2010 - Stories of Resurrection

Josh Broward
April 4, 2010

1 Corinthians 15:12-20

SoYoung’s Story
Gu SoYoung was my friend and neighbor. She was Emma’s piano teacher. She was a member of our church’s Advisory Council. She went with us to Tanzania in 2008. She was beautiful, and she loved beauty. She was an outstanding piano player, and she taught herself how to play the violin at the age of 30. She loved new foods and new experiences. She was full of joy and life. Her smile was always contagious.
In the last months of 2008, SoYoung began having stomach aches and digestive problems. In January of 2009, she was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. There was nothing the doctors could do. Her health declined quickly over the next few months.
SoYoung spent the last month or so in a hospice out in the countryside on the east side of Cheonan. As we drove out to visit her, we could see the trees and fields and flowers slowly emerging with the new life of spring, and yet, each day, we also watched the life fade out of our dear friend.
SoYoung died on the morning of April 4 at about 6 a.m. Sarah and I quickly went out to the hospice to join the family. We passed the word to the church, and we held a quiet memorial service at the funeral home on Sunday night.
That was a difficult and extremely painful season for her family and for many in our church. Many of us still miss SoYoung deeply.
This winter has been one of the longest winters I can remember. Many people have said that it feels like winter will never end. The gray skies, cold weather, and snow have seemed to last forever. Just when we think they are gone, they come back again.
Our world is in a long winter of death. Death was never part of God’s plan, but it is here, and we can’t stop it for now. Sometimes, the gray skies and pains of death seem like they will last forever. Just when we think they are gone, they come back again. Someone else dies. We lose another loved one. There is another senseless killing or disease. This long winter of death seems like it will go on forever. It seems like we will never escape all of this dying and waiting for more dying.
Last week, it was still cold. I was wearing my winter coat, and I had my hands shoved into my pockets because they felt like ice. I was walking past the Owens Building, and I saw something that encouraged my heart.
I saw the first buds of spring. ...

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Love (Christian Basics: Week 6)

March 28, 2010
Josh Broward

Throughout the Season of Lent, we have been thinking and talking about the Christian basics. What does it really mean to be a Christian? Well, here in our last week, we come to the most basic part of being a Christian: love. Love is the goal of Christianity. Our mission is to be a loving community that changes our world, and the first part of our vision is to be renewed by God’s love so that we love God, ourselves, and others. Love is fundamental to who we are as Christians and as members of this church.
I love how John Wesley explains this: “If you look for anything more than love, you are looking wide of the mark, you are getting out of the royal way, and when you are asking others, ‘Have you received this or that blessing?’ if you mean anything but more love, you mean wrong; you are leading them out of the way, and putting them upon a false scent. Settle it then in your heart, that ... you are to aim at nothing more than that love described in [1 Corinthians 13]. You can go no higher than this, till you are called to” heaven.1
Well, then, let’s read 1 Corinthians 13:

1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when full understanding comes, these partial things will become useless.
11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
Of all the Christian basics, love is the greatest. Love is more important than faith or the Bible or hope or anything else. Love is supreme. Without a life filled with love, everything else is beside the point. Everything God wants for us is summarized in one word: love.
Then, why do we find it so difficult to love? Why is it so hard to be patient and kind? Why is it that, no matter how much we pray, we still find ourselves being jealous or boastful or proud? Why do we demand our own way? Why are we so irritable with each other? Why do we keep mental records of the wrongs others have done to us - especially our bosses? Why do we give up on relationships so easily? Why do we find ourselves turning again and again toward selfishness and away from love?

Because we are buried alive. ...

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