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  5.17. 2014

“Commend you to emulate the greatest faith.”(HEW 11:4-6)

 

  First of all,

I would like to thank God and Bishop Johnson for giving me the

 opportunity to present my sermon to the Annual Conference during the Memorial Service as we remember all that God has done through His

 faithful servants.

  I have served only in Korean churches for 30 years so it may be difficult to get the message across with my poor English, however,

I believe that our differences will be overcome by the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

 Last February, Pennsylvania was hit by snowstorms resulting in the

 loss of electricity to 500,000 households, property damage and

various accidents. 

The Malaysian aircraft that crashed this past

March which has yet to be found and during last month's

Passion Week the South Korean ferry disaster resulting in

over 300 deaths. All of these incidents are very similar to

what Noah was going through during his time.

 We do not know the reason for these hardships, but

I believe that God is warning us to awake spiritually,

 understand the message and to hear Him calling us to

lives of holiness and truth in love. As we remember the

lives and ministry of those here who have gone before us.   

This special morning, I would like to introduce you to a great woman,

 Ruby Kendrick, who sacrificed her life creating one of the greatest moments in the history of United Methodism.

 The 19th World Methodist Conference was held on July 20-24,

2006 at the world's largest, Keum Ran Church in Seoul Korea. 

The theme of the conference, "God, In Christ Reconciling",

concerned the harmony between nations, races, within societies,

 and person to person. We adapted a proclamation to bring unification, harmony and peace, to North and South Korea.

 Afterwards,

we visited Yang Hwa Jin cemetery where over 500 missionaries are buried.  We wanted to honor those who loved and witnessed the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Korea over the last 130 years.

 As I was looking at these graves, one of the headstones caught my eye.

 It read,

 "If I had a thousand lives to give - Korea should have them all."  

 This inspirational headstone belonged to Ruby Kendrick.

She was 25 years old when sent by the Southern Methodist Church to

 Korea in 1905.

 After graduation,

she heard the story of Korea and her passion for Korea grew and

 took her over the Pacific Ocean to what was then called Chosun.

 She saw many things that were very strange to her,

such as a man with a bun on his head and women in white clothing - yet

 she loved every new thing she encountered.

  In order to be a missionary, she studied Korean diligently in the

 city of Gae Sung for eight months while emerging herself within the culture, meeting Korean people and traveling throughout the country. 

 She eventually fell in love with Korea, but Ruby Kendrick had worked so hard without taking care of herself that she became very ill.

She died in a lonely hospital room in Korea and her last words were, "Please bury me in Korea.

I could not do my share, but I want to see the progress of the mission work even after I close my eyes."

 How inspiring is this? I would like to take this opportunity to give thanks to the American missionaries who risked and

dedicated their lives to spread the Gospel in Korea. God created many miracles for the growth of the Korean churches. 

Early Morning Prayer, the daily structured time to pray, worship and praise God is the main reason for Korea's revival. 

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the

earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." (John12:24)    As I stood in front of her headstone,

I thought, "She is truly God's child, and without name or glory she witnessed the life-saving  Gospel to Korea. Let us thank the faithful saints for their sacrifices.

" Let's give a round of applause to our God and our Savior!

 In Hebrews chapter 11, it records the magnificent stories of the

 greatest heroes and their faithful journeys. Chapter 12 tells us to

 run the race of faith. We must win this spiritual competition.

What is the secret of the victor? Let's seek out the faithful pioneer's footsteps and learn from them.   

How do we acquire faith?

Romans chapter 10:17 tells us that faith comes by hearing the message,

and that  there are three attitudes of people who have heard and

received God's word: 

1) They will agree with their heads (in their thoughts)    

2) They will be present where their hearts desire is

3) They will take God's Word and be obedient

   (with specific applications and transformations)      

 Let's read 2Corinthians 1:20,

 "For all the promises of God in Him (are) yes,

and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us."

  So, What is faith?  Hebrews 11:1 says,

 "Faith is the substance of things hoped for,

 the evidence of things not seen."

 

1. What is the faith of Abel: worship in faith(the greatest worship)

   Cain and Abel brought crops and sheep to God according to their means of living. God only accepted Abel's because his righteous

offering was evidenced by his faith. The reason why we have to

worship God is because we are built to worship God - to worship the best. James Emery White said, "Worship is the most deepest,

 significant and life-changing investment."

He points out several important aspects of worship.

1)Worshipping God sanctifies us.      

  "if worship is not changing you it's not worship"    

2)Worship will lead us to an experience of God.

3)Worship helps us to express ourselves to God.

4)Worship leads us to praise and thank God.

5)Worship will encourage and energize us spiritually.

     Now, let's think about how we worship today. Are we really worshipping God in spirit and in truth? We have to worship sincerely,

not just formally or as if we are serving objects. 

We are here in this time so that we can complete God's masterpiece.

  Thus, we have to realize God's message and live as the people of

 this hour called to carry on God's mission.

Romans12:1-2 says "Therefore, I urge you, brothers,

in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices,

holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world,

but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

 Then you will be able to test and approve what God's

 will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Isn't your heart becoming warm?

 Jesus taught us two things about worship when He said in

  John 4:23-24, "Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth,

 for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." Our spiritual lives will be alive when our worship is alive,

 and then we will gladly answer the Lord when He calls us.

  Henry Appenzeller arrived in Incheon harbor on Easter Day,

 Apr 5, 1885, to spiritually awaken the Koreans who had been

asleep for 4 thousand years. It wasn't just any arrival,

it was the  inspiring moment when the Gospel arrived in Korea.

  Choson (Korea) was known as the hopeless land of seclusion.

 However, Appenzeller saw Korea not as a wasteland, but as a

land through which to spread the Gospel. He came with the

 determination of becoming a martyr and taught us how to

 worship God in spirit and in truth. He prayed for us so that we would exit out of the darkness and into the light and not serve idols anymore.

 He modeled himself after Jesus to carry out his ministry of Preaching, Teaching and Healing.Henry Appenzeller spread the only gospel which led to  salvation, awakening us from ignorance by building schools.

 He also showed us what God's love is by sacrificing himself to save another's life and teach us how to worship God in spirit and in truth.  Appenzeller founded schools(PaiChai HakDang) in Korea and my grandfather was one of the first to graduate. My father and brother also graduated from the original schools. My father retired as a bishop of The Korean Methodist Church while my brother is still currently serving God as a pastor in the KMC. My sister graduated from Ehwa, an all women's Methodist high school and university as well as my wife who also graduated from the Methodist Theological Seminary and served at JungDong First Methodist Church -the first church that Appenzeller built in Korea.

 As you can see, my family is literally the fruit of the seeds that Appenzeller spread. I became a member of Elders in 1991 and served in various Conferences such as Arkansas, FL and NY. In 2009, our move to Philadelphia to start a new church was influenced due to the fact this is Appenzeller original Conference and I wanted to repay his sacrifice to the Korean Church and our family.

    I am delighted and empowered to preach in front of you and to be a living testament of Appenzeller's ministry come full circle.

How can I express this feeling of thankfulness and inspiration for the faithful witnesses who have gone before us?  Are you feeling it too?  Amen. Halleluiah!

   Let's praise and glorify God and give a round of applause for the devotional ministry that Appenzeller carried out 130 years ago! 

  Second: 2. What is Enoch's faith - walking with God.

  Enoch lived for over 300 years walking closely and according to God's will for which the Lord was pleased.  

 Genesis 5:21-24 says, "When Enoch had lived sixty-five years, he became the father of Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after the birth of Methuselah three hundred years, and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty five years. Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him."

 What is God’s will? 1)Doing the right thing, 2)in the right way, 3)for the right motive, 4)at the right time - as it is important to match God's timing if we are to walk in unison with Him.

Why did God make us into his children and give us this ministry as ministers of the Gospel? It is because we, the remnants,

are here now to live out His mission in these last days.

This very day God is asking us:"Whom shall I send?

And who will go for us?" We should say "Here am I Lord! Send me!"

 Even though I am weak, use me as your instrument. 

 We must answer His call today. People here and all over the world are depending on our answer. Let’s say “YES!”

to God and follow in the footsteps of the faithful witnesses of the past. Let’s say “YES!” even as we honor and remember the lives of those here today who answered God’s call in Spirit and in truth,

with faith and love. Let's pray that we,

like the faithful witnesses before us,

will have the ability to carry out the mission and ministry of

 the Gospel in our day, along with the grace to do it for our world depends on it. To the glory of God, in Jesus’name. Amen.


 The Rev. Byung Woo Cho

    Lighthouse Korean UMC in Glenside PA

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