Sermon in a nutshell: Acts 4: 23-31
Last week, we had a Gathering of Orders at the Mount Herman Retreat center for all the orders of the conference. Elders, deacons, and local pastors were all invited for worship, workshops, and fellowship to renew the wellness of our mind, body, and spirit. I was asked to be a part of the leaders for the spiritual wellness group. There was a guest speaker from the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits to talk about the well-being of the body. We had another workshop about the wellness of the mind.
I shared with them the biblical principle that spiritual well-being is rooted in the relationship with God. The key in our relationship with God is our understanding of who we are and whose we are. Who are we? We are earthen vessels. We are nobodies by ourselves. I shared my personal experience in my ministry. As you know, I have a Korean accent and I do not deserve to be a pastor of this wonderful church! That is how I see it. Still, you have kindly accepted me as a pastor and you work with me as a ministry partner! When I think about your radical hospitality, I am overwhelmed and I want to work hard! The other day, after the memorial service, I saw the tables and chairs in Oglesby-Close Hall. I took them all down and I cleaned the entire room. Some people expressed concerns about my doing this, saying that I was their pastor and not the janitor! That is true. However, on the other hand, this is my father’s house and I am his son. Actually, as the prodigal son in Luke 15 said, I do not deserve to be called a son. If I can work as one of the servants, I would be happy! That is my understanding of who I am and whose I am. I am a sinner saved by the blood of Jesus and I am a creature created by God’s love and grace. So, I do not have any complaints about my working. I am grateful for the fact that God is using me and there is a church that I can serve! This is the foundation of my spiritual wellness!
Read the scripture for today! The apostles and disciples all had the same understanding! They shared the basic understanding that they had no power. However, the God they served was the Creator and the King of kings! Still this great Creator and King wants to work with us, sinners! What an awesome privilege and joy for us to serve such a great king! With that understanding, the apostles and disciples did not experience fear or have reservations about their mission and ministry! They prayed with confidence! They did not have doubts about God’s power and love! They claimed God’s power and love for the advancement of the Gospel, the Good News of forgiveness and love! They did not pay attention to their weaknesses but to the greatness of God.
Do you remember the miraculous event in Ezekiel 37? The prophet Ezekiel stood at the valley, which was full of dry bones. God asked the prophet, “Can these bones become alive?” it is not possible in human eyes. However, in God’s eyes, nothing is impossible!” The prophet answered, “Lord, you know!” “It is up to you!” Then God told him to command the bones to come to life. When the prophet Ezekiel did this, the bones became human bodies. Then God commanded Ezekiel again to speak to the breath of life. The prophet Ezekiel commanded the breath of life to come on those bodies and the bodies became a living army of God! It was not the helpless situation of the bones but the power of God that made miracles happen.
Do you see the parallel between this Old Testament event and the New Testament event? The wind that blew over these dry bones was the same wind that came upon the disciples of Jesus. The same breath that gave life to the dry bones was the same breath that brought confidence and wisdom to the disciples of Jesus. This same wind, the Spirit of God, is also available to us today. When we pray with confidence, God will send the Holy Spirit and fill us with the Spirit. We will be cured and freed from the brokenness of this world by God’s power. Some of us will be physically healed and some of us will feel the freedom and peace that only God can give.
When we receive Holy Communion, let us expect that to happen! The whole world will participate in Communion with this same faith that God is with us. When we pray with faith, miraculous things will happen! God will transform us so that we can accept reality with peace. When we take the body and blood of Jesus with expectation, either a miracle or shalom will happen! May God be with us and allow us to experience God’s love and power today through our worship! Amen!
1. When have you experienced God’s love, unconditional love, and shalom (peace)?
2. When have you confessed that you do not deserve God’s love and thanked God who still embraces you as God’s child?
Sermon in a nutshell: Acts 4: 23-31