Sermon Text: The Power of One

Rev Hyung Jin Nim Sermon , Headquarter Church, Chungpadong, Seoul, March 8. 2008

After he hung up the phone, we noticed that one of the people on our team was really crying. So we asked her, “Are you OK?” and she said how inspired she was by the fact that my husband was talking with True Parents. That’s when I once again realized how precious True Father’s love is, and once again I realized how precious True Father’s existence is. Brothers and sisters, let us also be strength to each other. Let us each be the one who can give strength to many people.

Hyung Jin Nim’s Welcome Message:

Brothers and sisters I want to share this quote with you from Cheon Seong Gyeong, page 1245, “Even if God Himself changed, I would restore Him, and go on together with Him. If God is not absolute, I will make Him absolute. Once you have these thoughts in your mind, God Himself – the Almighty God of creation- will be absolutely obedient to you”. Father goes on to say, “I am telling you that you have to think, ‘The color emanating from me is like the bright color of gold, like the luster of diamonds; it is resolute and unchanging’ ”

That is what we are talking about brothers and sisters. When see ourselves, we have to see ourselves shimmering with gold like the luster of diamonds. That’s how precious we are; this is what God intended for us. We’re supposed to go forth with that kind of confidence, knowing that we have that kind of amazing value.

It’s so important that every time we start service, we start seeing ourselves in the right viewpoint, seeing ourselves with those eyes, (seeing us) with the bright color of gold, the luster of diamonds, seeing ourselves, our spirit bodies, with that kind of value.

Every time we start service, we always want to thank you for making the time to come out here. We know that God is acknowledging every person that comes out. We know that your week is going to go better because you take the time to really honor God in this sanctuary. We believe that and we know that as we start viewing ourselves with the eyes of God, then our viewpoints begin to change; our perspectives can start to change. We can start seeing that we will make a difference and just like today’s sermon, “The Power of One”, we have immense, immense power; and in that same way, let us be a blessing to those around us, let us be a truly great blessing to this world.

Brothers and sisters, thank you so much for coming out here. Welcome!

Yeon Ah Nim’s Message:

We were in Japan last week and we were on the way back from members’ house visit and we called True Parents in the car while they were in America. True Parents told my husband, “Please try to take care of your health and try to keep balance in your work” and True Father told him, “Hyung Jin, my son, in the beginning of my ministry, at times (sometimes), as I remember, I was physically and spiritually so exhausted, so I know how you must feel” and he said, “Hyung Jin, always remember this, we really love you; we are always there for you and you are doing a good job, Hyung Jin.”

After he hung up the phone, we noticed that one of the people on our team was really crying. So we asked her, “Are you OK?” and she said how inspired she was by the fact that my husband was talking with True Parents. That’s when I once again realized how precious True Father’s love is, and once again I realized how precious True Father’s existence is. Brothers and sisters, let us also be strength to each other. Let us each be the one who can give strength to many people.

Brothers and sisters, we love you so much, and we believe in you. Aju!

Today I’d like to talk to you about the power of One. In order to live the blessed life, we need to understand the phenomenal power that we have. So many times we underestimate our ability to evoke (bring about) change, our ability to have an impact on this world. And a blessed life is so powerful; even one blessed life is so powerful that it can change the world.


Hyung Jin Nim’s Interesting Story:

Before we start I always like to share something a little interesting! I found a very interesting one, the story of little Lisa. She was at sunday school. She heard about the story of Jonah, where Jonah was swallowed up by the whale, and Lisa got very excited about the story, very interesting, very fun. So on Monday she went to school and she started telling her teacher about Jonah and the whale. She was explaining how Jonah was swallowed up by the whale, how he was in the whale’s tommy, and everything like that.

And the teacher said,” Well, little Lisa, you know what, it’s actually scientifically impossible for a whale to swallow a human being because although the whale’s mouth is quite large, the throat is actually quite small, so scientifically it’s impossible. The whale can’t swallow Jonah.” And little Lisa said,”No but the whale did swallow Jonah” and the teacher said, “No it’s impossible, he can’t do that”. And so little Lisa said, “Well when I go to heaven I’m going to ask Jonah” and the teacher said, “Well, what if Jonah is in hell, Lisa?” and Lisa said, ” Well then you ask him!”

Hyung Jin Nim’s Message

Today I’d like to talk to you about the power of One. In order to live the blessed life, we need to understand the phenomenal power that we have. So many times we underestimate our ability to evoke (bring about) change, our ability to have an impact on this world. And a blessed life is so powerful; even one blessed life is so powerful that it can change the world.

Some may say, “It’s impossible! How can I change the world? I am only one person. The world is so vast, 6.5 billion people. How can one ever change the world?” Well that’s because many people do not understand the power of a simple exponential function. Those things work in human relationships; human networks are exponential functions. They are networks that grow and have tremendous impact. Let’s look at this.

Thomas Carlyle said that the history of the world is (nothing) but a biography of great men – and women, we must add. But when we look at the contents of history, notice how all of it flows around individual characters; notice how it flows through your history text, through the important generals or the important kings, or the important figures in science, innovation or religious thoughts etc… Notice how it flows with very important people right at its core. It’s so important that we understand that history is essentially written and comprised mostly, primarily, of figures, stories of great people.

And it’s very interesting. I remember sitting in my American history class in high school in New York, and we were reading the texts. We were reading post World War 2 religious movements and revivals that were happening in America; and here I am sitting in my classroom with the American history textbook, reading with all the kids there, not members, and there it is: There’s my daddy in the history book!! (Applause). I remember seeing that. I said, “Wait a minute, that’s my daddy!” I looked at the glossary, he’s also there. It’s very interesting that one person, starting from a shabby old hut in North Korea, in a field, can have moved so many lives, can have made such an impact in this world!

And it’s so important that, when we look at ourselves, that we understand that we have that kind of power, that kind of value. When we look at the lives of True Parents, look at the impact that they have made. When I pass an elderly Korean man, or an Asian man, on the street -maybe he is in his ’80s or ’90s – I often say to myself, “That actually could be True Father, that man in the park practising tai chi or playing chess, or somebody who is walking in the park like this elderly gentleman here. Literally that could have been Father. If Father didn’t reach out, if he didn’t accept God’s calling, he would not be the person he is today.”

And not only that, most of us would not be here. If you think about it, as 2nd generation, it’s extremely improbable that any one of us would have been born, had it not been for True Parents. It’s very improbable that the many couples that were matched from different parts of the world would actually have a chance in this lifetime to come together and have children, have us. So when I looked at my own life, I said to myself, “My God, if anything would have changed in history, if Father had not accepted his call, I would not be here. You would not be here, this sanctuary would probably be an office building, maybe a restaurant, maybe a storage room.”

But it’s so important that we look at the value that can be created, the impact that can be made from one individual. When we look at our own family members – I’ve seen so many young blessed children going to school abroad, maybe to Japan, or Korea or to the States and because we have a worldwide network, they’ve stayed in churches, they’ve been able to spend time there, beeing in the community, work on their projects, on their schooling. But we wouldn’t have any of that, had it not been for Father who just decided to accept God’s calling.

We must not focus on the negative aspect, our weaknesses. Everybody has weaknesses. Whenever we focus on something, we magnify it, we draw it out, we make it stronger. So we have to focus on our strengths. We must focus 80%, not on our weaknesses, but focus 80% on our strengths

But people may say that we have so many problems in our organization. Yes, but we must realize that all organizations always have problems. The very nature of organizations is that they have problems, but good organizations are able to continue to improve and minimize the impact of those problems. We may not really know how to have strong community building but we also must objectively see that we’re in the process of building that, and although we might not be accepted by the outside yet, we must realize that we are still a very young religion; we’re only 50 years plus!

The other religions that are new have been around for 300-400 years, over 150 years. They have been around a lot longer than us. We are still very young as a tradition and let’s remember that, objectively speaking, there is no major religious tradition that has ever succeeded this much during the time of the founder. Mohammed couldn’t do it, Jesus, the Buddha, their foundation wasn’t this large. So we have a very amazing case in our midst. We’ve studied this in the world religions’ class that I took at Harvard.

But let me give you one example of the power of an exponential function. I’m going to play a little game with you. Let’s say that for the next 30 days I will give you every day $1,000. You like that? Every day I’ll give you $1,000. How does that so sound? Does that sound good? That will leave you with a total after 30 days of $30,000. Does this sound good? Very good!

There’s only one catch, you have to do something for me and that is: on the first day, you have to give me 1 penny, on the second day, you have to give me double that, 2 pennies; on the third day you have to give me double that, 4 pennies, on the fourth day, double that, 8 pennies, and then just we’ll continue that for 30 days. Is there anybody who wants to do this, to play this game? Oh please, no takers? There, $30,000, big, big, big, right? Are you sure?

Let’s see: after 30 days, if somebody took that deal with me, I would owe them $30,000. I would have to pay every day $1,000; but on the 29th day you would owe me $5,368,709.12 and on the 30th day you would owe me double that, over $10 million. That’s the power of an exponential function! Remember, it only started from one penny, one penny! 30 days, you owe me over $10 million! That’s what I’m talking about, when I talk about the power of an exponential function, the power of One.

In 2003 there was a movie called, “Pay it forward”. It was about a young boy, his name was Trevor, and he was a student, and he decided that when he did something good for somebody, he would say, “Don’t pay me back, pay it forward. To the next 3 people that you meet, do an act of kindness, for the next 3 people, and then tell them to pay it forward. Tell them, each one of those 3 people, to do an act of kindness for 3 other people.”

Do you see this process? Yes, let’s see this briefly and I highly recommend for you to see this if you haven’t. There is a young boy drawing the diagram, 1 person does something kind for 3 people. Those 3 people each do something kind for 3 others, those 9 people each do something kind for 3 others etc, etc, etc… Did you know that just within 20 repetitions of this cycle, just 20 times, the whole world is impacted. The entire world is touched; the entire world has somebody doing an act of kindness for them. That’s the power of an exponential function! That’s how powerful one person can be.

When we look at the biblical tradition, we see Jesus, we see the 12 disciples. He touched all those disciples. He made such an impact in their lives. He guided them. He filled them with hope, with faith in their lives, with a promise that they can keep in their hearts, and when we look at them from a religious studies’ perspective, we will see that 2008 years later, how many Christians are there around the world? Approximately 1.9 billion Christians around the world, people who believe and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, right? 1.9 billion people who are Christians in this world. We did this calculation with some of our maths professors over here, and we found out that the average growth rate would be 0.95% per year. That basically means that in the span of Christianity, every year out of 100 Christians they have to make one Christian, one Christian, just one Christian every year per 100.

Somebody might say,” But we are nowhere near Christianity, we are so tiny, we are so small. They have 1.9 billion people, we have maybe 500 people that can fit in this room.” We have a little more than that. When we had the big event in Korea here, we had maybe 15,000 people come out. When the sanctuary is usually full, it’s about 500 people. Let’s say we start with 500 Unificationists and now turn the tables around, give us 2008 years. Guess what you’ll find. If we grow at the same rate as Christianity, after 2008 years, we will have over 87,996,854,820 members! That’s a lot! That’s a little more than 1,9 billions, isn’t it? See, that’s the power of an exponential function. That’s the power of the power of the power of One.

When we look at our power, we must be very cautious, because our power is awsome. It’s very strong, it’s very great and the question is,” What kind of impact are we making on the people around us?” The power is like a double-edged sword. If used for good, it can provide life, it can provide enrichment, it can provide encouragement, it can provide empowerment for those 3 people that we touch. If on the other side, however, we negatively influence just 3 people, and those people each negatively influence just 3 more people, then (through) that cycle, over 20 cycles, when we just repeat 20 times, the whole world is affected negatively by our doing. Do you see what I mean?

The power of One is so great! It is like a double-edged sword.
So it’s important that in our lives, although we are not perfect, just moving towards perfection, we are perfecting ourselves constantly, and working on ourselves; thats’ normal, that’s great. At the same time, we must be clear that we must minimize the potential damage that we could do to others, but not focus on that. I’m not saying that we should focus on that, but we should really try to focus on the goodness that we are doing, to actively focus on the goodness.

Let’s look at this one. This is called the Pygmalion effect. Maybe some of you have heard about it. This is a very important effect for our lives. This Pygmalion effect is very simple. Because we have so much power, basically if you are a teacher, if you are a parent, the thoughts that you have about your children, about the kids that you are teaching, can effect their realities, can effect their destiny. This is the Pygmalion effect. It’s not only for teachers, by the way, for anybody who is viewing themselves, for viewing others, it has a powerful impact. Let’s look at it (on the chart). It says, “Our beliefs”, that means how I view myself, for example. If I view myself negatively, if I view myself as a bad person, a negative person, an angry person, then that will influence my actions, and then my actions will be negative, they will be angry and that will impact others’ beliefs about me. Other people will start believing that I am angry, that I am negative and that will again cause other people to react negatively and angrily towards me, which will then reinforce my negative and angry concept about myself. Do you see how that cycle works? It’s a constant cycle.

And now it’s natural to focus on weaknesses. Everybody does it; everybody has a tendency to see what’s wrong with the situation, but that’s what’s natural. We have to be more than natural. We have to see ourselves with God’s eyes, which are supernatural, right? We have to start seeing with our supernatural eyes, then we can start seeing that we have tremendous strengths.

That’s why whenever we come to (sunday) service we always want to start getting into the cycle because whether or not we know it, this cycle is always working, but either we are working with it in a good way or we are using it unconsciously in a negative way. We want to be aware of this cycle when we are living a blessed life. It’s so important that we start filling ourselves with the right perspective about ourselves, filling ourselves on our beliefs about ourselves with the viewpoint that begins with God.

You know there’s a teacher named Jane Elliott. She did a study where she said…. basically it was something like this: Researchers have found that people with blue eyes – Who has blue eyes and green eyes here? Can you raise your hands? Oh beautiful! I don’t know how many Koreans will have it tomorrow (at the Korean Service tomorrow). I don’t know how many hands I’ll get tomorrow – but researchers have found out that people with blue eyes are intellectually superior to people with brown eyes. Isn’t that interesting? Very interesting! Yes, interesting. Yes researchers have shown that people with blue eyes are intellectually superior to people with brown eyes. Does that make you feel good? (Laughter)

So Jane Elliott is this teacher here (on the screen), and on the first day, she shares this research with her students. She shares it, and there’s the blue-eyed lady on the left (on the screen), you can see her; on her right there’s the blond-haired woman with blue eyes, and on her left there’s an African American brother with brown eyes. So she (Jane) shared that the research shows that blue-eyed people are intellectually superior to brown-eyed people. And then they take a test, they take a spelling test, and guess what happens. The blue-eyed people score very highly, and the brown-eyed people don’t score so high, and that reinforces the research, right?

But there’s a little twist to this because the next day, she comes to the same class, the same kids and says, “Oh, you know, I screwed up (twisted, messed up) the information. Actually the brown-eyed people are intellectually superior and the blue-eyed people are intellectually inferior” and then they took the test. What happens? The brown-eyed kids, who just the other day scored very low, all of a sudden scored high, and the blue-eyed kids who thought they were intellectually superior, they scored very high on Monday, but on Tuesday they scored terribly. What does that show? This shows that how we view, what labels we place on the people that we are raising, or even ourselves, that shapes our destiny. That shapes whether or not we can have success, victory, whether or not we can be good in relationships etc..

It’s so important that we use this Pygmalion effect to our advantage because whether you realize it or not, you are using it. The question is, “How are you using it?” Are you using it to shape your life for success, for victory, for illumination, for peace; are you using it for that or are you not thinking about this process?

Then the process will most likely turn into a negative cycle. So it’s very important to learn that we are using the cycle and to learn how to start changing the way we view ourselves, changing the way we view our children, changing the way we view our students, changing the way we view our parents, to start using the cycle to our advantage. That is really where we see that the power of One is so important, is so powerful. So really, as we are blessed people, it’s so important that we focus on the strengths of our children, we focus on the strengths that God has given us, we focus on the strengths of our brothers and sisters.

In Korea there’s a word called “Chansori”; have you heard of that? (“Yes”) It’s basically like nagging. What is nagging? When you look at nagging, what is it? It’s basically focusing on a negative element, and continually harassing the other person about it, right? That’s basically what nagging is, right? So if you think about it: You don’t like this about another person, you keep on giving them a little poke about that or indirectly say some negative comment about that. So, that would be nagging. Or maybe very verbally, saying,” This looks terrible, you are terrible!” We don’t want to do this, but people do it.

Its’ so important that we get away from this habit of “Chansori”. It is focusing on the negative. People focus 80% on weaknesses, weaknesses about themselves; and when they look at others, they also focus 80% on weaknesses. When they look at their children, they focus on what their kids are doing wrong, what they need to improve. This is what people focus on 80% of the time.

The outside world may do that, but we as blessed people, we must do the opposite. We must not focus on the negative aspect, our weaknesses. Everybody has weaknesses. Whenever we focus on something, we magnify it, we draw it out, we make it stronger. So we have to focus on our strengths. We must focus 80%, not on our weaknesses, but focus 80% on our strengths. We must not do “chansori”, but maybe “changsori”, that means focusing on your strengths. I hope in Korean they understand it tomorrow. Not “chansori”, but “changsori”, focusing on the strengths.

Even it’s so tempting when you’re raising kids, when you’re raising students – they may insult you at times, they may really test your patience, they may totally harm you and cause you a scar in your heart – but it’s always important, even in those tests, even in those times of challenge, that we continue even more so, to see the strengths, the greatness within them, to see the strengths also within us. It’s so important.

Remember that Pygmalion effect, it has a huge impact in how we succeed, how we are victorious in our lives. And now it’s natural to focus on weaknesses. Everybody does it; everybody has a tendency to see what’s wrong with the situation, but that’s what’s natural. We have to be more than natural. We have to see ourselves with God’s eyes, which are supernatural, right? We have to start seeing with our supernatural eyes, then we can start seeing that we have tremendous strengths.

When God created you, He didn’t say,” Oh man! This one was terrible! I really messed up on this one!” He didn’t do that. When He made you He was proud of His creation. When He made you, He saw that this is good. He said it was good. And in the same way, when we acknowledge our strengths, when we start to focus and draw out our strengths in ourselves, in our children, what are we doing then? We are praising our Creator.

If I saw a Picasso and said, “It’s terrible!” and I focus on the weaknesses, “The lines are terrible, the colors are just ridiculous!” then I would be criticizing that creator. In the same way if I looked at the painting and I said,” It’s beautiful! I like how the creator did this with that, I like how this was created”, then I focus on the strengths, then I’m praising that creator.

In the same way, when we learn to see the strengths in ourselves, in our children, what are we doing? We’re learning to praise our Creator, we are learning to give credit back, and that – in the end – is a double win because God is satisfied, and also we can be more fulfilled in our own lives with people around us.

So, is there anything that we can learn today? Yes, there is: let’s remember that many people think they can’t change the world. Many people think it’s impossible; mathematically it can’t be done. I’m here to tell you that’s not true. If you do the maths, it’s very simple. It’s called an exponential function. You can change the world. One person can change this world, one person. People do. Remember history. It’s but a biography of great people; that’s all what history is.

In the same way, if it is true that we are going to be blessed, if it is true that we are going to make an impact in our lives, in history, then let us start viewing ourselves with those eyes. Let us start seeing, “Yes, I can make a difference, maybe not the whole world at once, but I can change 3 people, I can influence positively 3 people, I can help them so they can influence positively 3 people and just 20 repetitions of that cycle, and the whole world will be changed.

Let’s remember that we have tremendous power. Remember the power of an exponential function. Everybody here thought $30,000 was big after 30 days, right? But what did you owe me after 30 days? I was the way (much) bigger winner, right, so let’s remember the power of the exponential function. Small at first, it looks like nothing at first; but it makes a huge, huge impact as it continues to exponentially grow.

And when we see True Father’ life, we see that it is valuable. True Father did bring us together. He did set up the stage for us to be born, for me, for your blessed children; we would not be here, it’s almost impossible. The majority of us would not be here, had it not been for the blessing of (given by) True Parents.

And remember, let’s not be victim of the Pygmalion effect. We saw that cycle. That cycle can become our lives. Whether or not we know, we are using it. The key is not to spiral negatively with that cycle down, the key is to use that cycle to push yourself positively up, constantly.


The first place where that begins is how you’re starting to label things, how are you labeling the children, how are we labeling ourselves. Are we calling ourselves a failure? Are we saying we’re terrible? Are we saying we can’t do anything right? Are we saying that people never like us? If that’s what we’re saying, then the actions will follow. It will have bad results. In the same way, use the Pygmalion effect. Let us use it for our advantage to truly bring blessing into this world, to start making an impact.

And remember: We may think the other traditions are large. We may feel very small and we are (very small); (but) we are still very young. We’re only 50 years old, but remember that small little thing: We thought Christianity was big, 1.9 billion people. Give us 2008 years, we’ll be over 88 billion people.

So in the same way, let us start seeing that we have power in our lives. We are not victims. We have a lot of power in our lives.The power begins very small with 1 penny – remember that example- but then it goes very large if it continues. That’s the key to using your power and that is the power that God has put in you, the power of One.

If we learn how to use this in our lives, then very small things, like sharing with 3 people an act of kindness and asking them to also do an act of kindness to 3 persons, if we simply did that, the world would be a different place. If we do that, brothers and sisters, I do believe that more and more we’ll have victory, we’ll have more illumination, we’ll have more peace when we live that blessed life that True Parents have blessed us to live.
Can you receive this today? “yes”

Thank you so much.

Transcribed by: Rev. Beatrice Clyburn

Edited by: Rev. Bruno Klotz

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