Sermon: Kook Jin Nim "Tithing versus Subsidization"

Kook Jin Nim, HQ’s Church, Seoul, Korea, April 26th 2008

Our Korean church is not very strong at this point. Actually for the last 20 years it’s been in decline. Actually our church here, the ministry which my brother, Rev. (Hyung Jin) Moon has been leading, is actually probably the only really growing church in our Korean movement at this time. And it is the light and inspiration for all our brothers and sisters here in Korea.

Yeon Ah Nim’s Welcome Message:

Good afternoon brothers and sisters. We are happy and honored to have you here with us in this sanctuary today, and for those who are joining us via internet we are welcoming you as well. It’s so good to see you again. Welcome brothers and welcome sisters.

Hyung Jin Nim’s Welcome Message:

Brothers and sisters I’d like to share with you one quote from the Cheon Seong Gyeong on page 1272 when True Parents say, ” God wants everyone reborn. From His position, He is trying to bring all of humanity, which is still in the realm of Satan’s false love, to His side through His greater love. Since all humankind was born through parents, ancestors and lineage of false love, they need to be reborn through parents, ancestors and lineage of true love.”

I want to share that with you because we represent that fruit, brothers
and sisters, that 6,000 years of historical indemnity. That is what we
represent. That is what kind of blessings you are to this world. And
it’s so important that, if we really are to live a life of Victory,
Illumination and Peace, it’s so important to understand our value, to
know who we are and whose we are (to whom we belong), to know our
identity, to know that we are children of True Parents eternally, to
know that if we really truly wish to accomplish peace, we need to also
know our purpose which is to live and fulfill that blessed life, to be
truly blessings unto this world.

Brothers and sisters, whenever we start service we always like to
remember and to recall the value that is planted within each and
everyone of you. That value is eternal. That value is limitless; it is
divine, it is cosmic, it is unique. We need to understand that when we
look at ourselves in the mirror, when we wake up each day we can say,
“Hey, that’s quite a special blessing!” It’s so important to understand
what kind of person you are for this world. I want to encourage you to
always see yourself with God’s eyes, see youself with His viewpoint.
Remember who we are. That’s how we become great blessings to this
world.

Brothers and sisters, it’s so great to see you once more, and welcome
you to our service. All of you brothers and sisters that are joining us
from across the world, we want to welcome you and send our love and
greetings. We are so grateful that you’re here, and let’s remember that
as we move forward.

As we promised we are always working hard. The True Family is working hard (trying hard) to work together. We are now mature, we are moving step by step, always together. Every month we are inviting a very special pastor from the True Family and today we have the great fortune of listening to our elder brother Kook Jin Hyung. He will be sharing his thoughts and his words with us during the service. Next month we will have Hoon Sook Nim come and share her words, and I’m sure they will be very profound, so please don’t miss that service! It’s going to be very, very beautiful . So every month we will be continuing to walk with you together as a family, continuing to walk our paths of faith together.

Thank you so much, brothers and sisters, for coming here, and we really do appreciate you. We really love you and we really want you to feel God’s love, True Parents’ love. It is eternal, it is always there for us. As long as we open our hearts, we are always in their presence. Thank you so much for coming here.

Hyung Jin Nim’s Introduction of the Guest Pastor:

I think there are some overcomers in the house today! Give applause once more for Tworivers’ Choir (Applause) Thank you so much. Please be seated ..if you can, if you can be seated after that! Oh Lord! Yes, I’m just filled with victory today! I’m ready to get on up! Oh my God have mercy!

Brothers and sisters, today is a very special day. As I explained a little earlier, instead of a very tentalizing joke, there is a fantastic, really a great speaker today. We have with us today my elder brother Kook Jin Hyung. Every month the True Family will have guest ministers come up here. True Father has anointed each one of us from the 12 tribes to be pastors, to be ministers, to minister about True Parents, etc..

And our brother Kook Jin Hyung from a very young age has always been really a rock in our family. His American name is Justin and it really somehow shows his character. He is very just, he is very straightforward, he is very honest. People always tell me, “In any position, whenever you have a position of authority, you need people that can tell you straight up how it is.” He is one of those people. He can tell me straight up any day and his honesty is so penetrating, his honesty, his forthrightness. Whenever he feels something is not right, not just, he will speak up against that.

And I’ve seen that countless times in our lives as we grew up, countless times as he was leading us through our own adolescence and growing up. We are really so grateful to have such a brother in our family.

After some of our brothers went early to the spiritual world we really had a re-uniting with our family. We really feel centered, really at a new level of maturity in each one of our lives. Really we see that Kook Jin Hyung in his greatest capacity, has really been pushing forward the unity of our family. He’s really been at the forefront all the time fighting those battles that not always are seen, really he is stepping out and trying to protect our brothers and sisters etc..

And so we are so grateful to have him as our older brother here today. As you know, he’s come to Korea on Father’s beckoning (request) about 3 years ago, and he’s done really almost miraculous things while he’s been here. He’s turned (around) the Tong Il Group Foundation, which was a whole portfolio (group) of related organizations etc..They were all not making any profit and in the course of one year he was able to turn over 20 organizations around into profitable, proud business organizations that our members now can see and say, “Yes those are our organizations. They represent us, we have that kind of victory”.

There’s not much persecution or resistance (opposition) towards our True Parents or our church here. If we do a good job in serving the Korean people and educating them, many people are happy to come to our church and to support us. And hopefully with your support, we’ll get there.

So I want to really give him that kind of acknowledgement today. He really has in our family the really genius mind, particularly in organization, in managing. As you may know he graduated from Harvard, the department of Economics which is one of the most difficult departments. I much rather prefer the deparment of religion because it was a lot easier than the department of economics. But he made his way through that. He graduated magna cum laude (with best grades). He also finished his MBA degree at the University of Miami and continues to succeed in his own business and then after coming to Korea, really bringing in a whole new trend for our movement’s organizations, really bringing a whole new level of professionalism, of transparency, of real sustainable (permanent) growth that, when we see it, gives us confidence in our own future as a movement.

So we are so very proud of him. We know he is doing great things, really miraculous things. God is working with him and today he is going to share with us some of his ideas..

Brothers and sisters I’d like you all to rise up and give him a resounding applause. And let’s invite Kook Jin Hyung to the stage (Long Loud Applause)

Kook Jin Nim’s Sermon

Thank you. Thanks for that introduction (True Brothers’ hug)

Hello everybody, thank you for your very warm welcome. I really appreciate it. Now you are embarassing me. Thank you. Please have a seat.

Anyway I’m very grateful to be able to come here and talk to you here today. We’ve had a lot of remarkable things happen in the last week. Quite a few changes in our church! A lot of people wondered whether or not the leadership would ever change or whether or not we would ever seriously as a community think about church reform. But somehow by God’s will our True Parent have made some big changes.

We are of course very happy and honored that they appointed our new world President Hyung Jin Moon (Applause for Hyung Jin Nim). And this appointment has opened a great opportunity for us to look at some serious issues and seriously contemplate (think about) how to reform our church, not only in Korea but throughout the world.

I don’t know if you are all aware of the current situation of our church in Korea. Our Korean church is not very strong at this point. Actually for the last 20 years it’s been in decline. Actually our church here, the ministry which my brother, Rev. (Hyung Jin) Moon has been leading, is actually probably the only really growing church in our Korean movement at this time. And it is the light and inspiration for all our brothers and sisters here in Korea.

But now that he’s been appointed not only as the the World President of our Church but also as the Korean President, the President of our Korean Church, now we have the serious responsibility and obligation to look at the issues of church reform and church development, and how we can structure and systematize our organization, so that it can be the vehicle through which God can work on this earth and fulfill the providence of bringing together all the religions of the world and all the people of this great country into Father’s family.

So this is an issue we have to look at and first of all one of the big problems which our Korean church faces is that it’s not at this point an independent church. It is not a church which can stand on its own with its own resources. If our True Parents and our brothers and sisters in Japan would not financially support this church, then it would not be able to function. We still receive quite a lot of subsidies (financial support) from our brothers and sisters in Japan for our HQ’s operations, and many of our churches in Korea – we have over 400 – either break even (do not lose money and do not make money) or are losing money, and not very many actually produce excess resources (make a plus).

So when I look at this situation, especially since my brother has asked me to help him reorganize and solve this organizational problem, I am challenged. It is a difficult problem to solve. In order to solve this problem there’re going to be many serious difficult decisions to be made. So this is a problem which we all have to solve together.

Have you ever thought why our brothers and sisters in Japan donate so much money to support our worldwide movement? They’re actually pretty much the elite (top) of Japanese society. Our Japanese brothers and sisters are well educated, successful, many of them are very wealthy, very intelligent people. But yet they donate a lot of money, why? Because as they understand God and the Principle, the Principle of restoration – and they understand their own morality, because they have good insights into their life and their future – they feel it’s a good investment and decision to be charitable (to give to others).

One of the big problems which I see when we look at our church and our organization here in Korea is this dependency on support from another church, our overseas church in Japan and this dependency has caused our organization in many ways to deteriorate (decline). We have not been able to develop structures for educating our membership. We have not been able to communicate and teach historical traditions about tithing and about supporting church activities and really substantiating a life of – in substance- living for the sake of others.

Now if we look at religious tradition throughout history, (we can see) the notion (idea) of tithing, or giving one’s 10% in the Bible, from the very earliest pages in the Bible. We can see it starting with Abraham, “Abraham presented a tenth of his property, the swells of his victory to Melchizedek” (Genesis 14:20, Hebrews 7:2-6). And Jacob after his vision at Luz (Gen 28:19-22) devoted a tenth of his property to God, “in case that he should return home safely.” And of course, you can see in Leviticus 27-33, it’s the Mosaic Law describing the obligation to donate 10% of your income to help to support the church.

And this notion about donating or tithing 10% comes from a very fundamental notion of faith. And that faith is, that we as a community and we as individuals, are not born as animals or just beings who exist for today but we are part of a greater community of faith, not only of our brothers and sisters around us, but our brothers and sisters who came before us and passed to the spiritual world, and we are part of a greater spirit, starting from the origin, the Creator of our world and our universe, from God Himself.

And because we are born of a greater spirit and a greater purpose, and that all that we have and the blessings that we receive come from God, then it’s only natural for us to offer to God what is already His. And so this tradition – starting from the time of Judaism, Abraham, Moses all the way throughout Christianity, through Jesus Christ, the teachings of the Saints – (this tradition) has been continually passed down thoughout the history of providence for over 6,000 years.

But yet for some reason, in our community here in Korea, and also other communities throughout the world this notion of supporting the church through tithing is quite weak, and I believe the problem is that we have not been able to do a good enough job in explaining and educating our brothers and sisters about why this is of value. We can see that in the administation of our church in Korea. In the past we’ve had lots of administrative problems and frankly we’ve had some serious problems of church management and ethical management of funds by our ministers.

So, from a personal point of view we can find many reasons why we don’t want to tithe 10% or we feel that we don’t have to, because “the people, if we give them the money,they’re going to use it irresponsibly; it’s not going to be used properly to develop the church resources or to build the church, and we already contribute to doing these events and all these other activities which we are asked to do.”

And those are all very good reasons and legitimate reasons we could think about, but on the other hand the notion of tithing is not whether or not the money is being used well. The notion of tithing is to give, completely returning to God what is His. And so it’s actually an article (act) of faith; it’s actually a worship. It’s actually a practice. And so this understanding of offering, and of giving up yourself without any expectation of return in substance, is actually good spiritual training. It’s actually a good condition of faith.

And by you being able to do so, it will actually help make your life more enriching. Why? Let me explain to you why it makes our lives more enriching. Because it enables us to go beyond ourselves. It enables us to go beyond what we want for us, and to really in substance, substantially, help others, whether it’s the church organization, our brothers and sisters next to us, or this beautiful church which we have here today and this wonderful community. Without your donations this church cannot function.

And actually we’ve made a lot of progress in improving the state of donations in our HQs’ church here. Before my younger brother started his ministry, the church donations were only about $10,000 a month. Now here it’s about $60,000 a month and that’s a big improvement. But compared to other Christian churches, actually for the size of our congregation it’s actually still quite far from what other churches do.

And those are all very good reasons and legitimate reasons we could think about, but on the other hand the notion of tithing is not whether or not the money is being used well. The notion of tithing is to give, completely returning to God what is His. And so it’s actually an article (act) of faith; it’s actually a worship. It’s actually a practice. And so this understanding of offering, and of giving up yourself without any expectation of return in substance, is actually good spiritual training. It’s actually a good condition of faith.

So this is our challenge that we have: If we are serious about building a really effective church we have to solve the question of how we’re going to pay for professionalizing our movement.

We’ve done a lot of work to improve businesses, so we’ve made some money and we’ve been investing in the church. We’ve been investing in this church. You can see the renovations that we’re doing to fix the facilities, you can see the addition of staff which we’ve added and all these investments we are making. And without the Foundation’s investment into the church, at this point this community by itself does not support this operation.

And so this is the fundamental challenge which I struggle with, because my job is to manage the organization, and to administer it and to pay all the bills, and so that’s the challenge which I have. But in a sense it’s also a challenge which needs to be shared by us all, because I myself cannot solve this problem. I mean if I myself just run the businesses and give all that I can – which I’m doing – that in itself is not going to be enough to achieve the goal which our movement aspires to (hopes to achieve).

So in that sense, we need to start talking about how we can help each other to develop our church in Korea, and how we can even develop this church even to be a greater church. That’s one thing which I would like all of you to start thinking about, because these are some serious questions which we all need to start to consider. This is a wonderful start here but we still have a lot of work to do.

And unfortunately in my position I am often the person who has to bring the difficult news to people, and I understand that’s not the best job in the world to do (Laughter), but somebody has to do it. So, I mean I’ve done quite a bit of re-structuring in Korea. We’ve had over 30 companies, and I’ve had to sell over 11 of them. I had to re-structure everything else, that meant I had to talk to lots of people and tell them that their contribution (work) is not productive to our organization and therefore we’re going to do re-structuring. And those are very difficult things to do, but yet it needs to be done.

And even for me personally, I am here in Korea, not because I wanted to be here, or because I asked to be here, because I certainly did not. But I was drafted (ordered) by our True Parents to come here (Laughter). I was drafted to come here, because our businesses were losing so much money and they were such an incredible burden on our organization.

When I started, actually the reported losses were about $50 million but our actual (real) losses were over $100 million, and so we had to start from a hundred million loss a year. Now we are making about $50 million profit a year (Applause). So that’s a change; that’s about $150 million a year change in profit. For anybody here who understands, who’s studied business, the present value of that is going to be in excess (more than) of $ 1billion, around $1,5 billion.

But I myself did not come here for any reward because I haven’t been paid in the last 2 years. (Laughter – Kook Jin Nim laughs too). All of my work has been voluntary (Laughing and applause). I’m not telling you this because I want to make myself look better but I’m just trying to tell you this because this is the way it is.

But there is a reason why I’m working to make our church more profitable and more successful and increase the market value of our companies, and there is a reason why I’m investing my time and my energy and my expertise (knowledge) without compensation (without getting paid), because it is donating it to the church and to our community. And the reason is, it’s because by doing so, it’s enriching to me also.

Let me explain this concept. I don’t know if you understand it. You think about it. You’re all various different ages, some young people, some older people, some people in the middle of their careers. Now when you think about your work in Korea, and you look towards retirement age, like when you turn 65, and then when you quit your job and you no longer have an income, and you think about that, then knowing that you’re going to retire in the future, you save up money right, you put away 5% or 3% every year in some savings account. Correct? Why do you do that? Because you want to have some resources to live on after you retire right? That’s only reasonable.

So this is an issue we have to look at and first of all one of the big problems which our Korean church faces is that it’s not at this point an independent church. It is not a church which can stand on its own with its own resources. If our True Parents and our brothers and sisters in Japan would not financially support this church, then it would not be able to function.

But in the same way, too, we as individuals and as people, are not going to live on this earth for ever. There’s a point where our lives expire (end). Then what is our income in the next life? Have we saved for our real retirement plan? I think that’s a question you need to ask yourself. Because we can’t certainly take our dollars which we’ve earned here on this earth to the next world. I mean I’ve earned a lot of money. I made a successful company and I’ve been quite successful throughout my life but when I die I’m not going to be able to take that with me.

If we think about, what will we be able to take (with us)? We will be able to take the goodwill that we have given, the offering that we have given to God. All those good works that we did to our friends and our neighbors, the love that we earn, and the donations that we made too, to one of those organizations, to the church. Those are not lost.

I mean Father also says it many times that God is very scientific and He is also an accountant! (Laughter) So all that you do on this earth will be accounted for in Heaven. And if you give a lot, that’s going to be accounted for; if you don’t then you’re not going to have much goodwill (foundation) when you go to the next world. So, keeping that in mind, I would suggest that we consider expanding our spiritual bank account as well as our physical ones. That might be a good thought to consider.

And actually it’s not that (not so) unreasonable or absurd. Have you ever thought why our brothers and sisters in Japan donate so much money to support our worldwide movement? They’re actually pretty much the elite (top) of Japanese society. Our Japanese brothers and sisters are well educated, successful, many of them are very wealthy, very intelligent people. But yet they donate a lot of money, why? Because as they understand God and the Principle, the Principle of restoration – and they understand their own morality, because they have good insights into their life and their future – they feel it’s a good investment and decision to be charitable (to give to others).

And even myself, even before I got drafted and I had to offer my services for free (Laughter- Kook Jin Nim laughs too), in America I established the Young Jin Moon Charitable Foundation. For the last 10 years we’ve been giving away $200,000 or $300,000 a year. So, it’s something for everybody to think about.

This is a very good church here and the ministry which my younger brother is leading is very good. And we have an opportunity now in our church here in Korea to do serious church reform. He’s asked me to help him to do church reform. So we will start working on this problem. But the problem of revenues (money) coming into the church is a problem. The amount of donations which our church receives is insufficient to make us independent at this point. So, on the one hand we’re going to have to start trying to educate people on the value of tithing to the church, that it’s not a bad thing, that you can actually feel good about it, and that it’s actually going to make your lives more spiritually worthwhile.

On the other hand, we’re going to have to make performance evaluations of our ministers more transparent (clear), so that we can see who’s doing a good job and who’s serving the members in the congregation, and who maybe needs a little bit more training. So these are the things we’re going to start working on. But we are going to have to have lots of serious and honest and open conversations, amongst ourselves and within our congregations throughout Korea, because we have some serious problems to solve and we can’t solve it by ourselves; we need your help.

So as you can consider that and think about it, next time you come to church, think about the tradition of Abraham, the tradition of Moses, the tradition of Christ, give a little, maybe a little bit more than you usually do. If we look at the average donations of our church it’s less than maybe $30 a month per member for our congregations here and that’s not 10%.

So we have a little bit of work to do, and we really thank you for your support up to this time. We really appreciate you coming out here and I hope you can support us some more too, because we would like to make a strong and independent Korean church which can also in the future actually start supporting our foreign missions. I mean I take great pride in being independent, and since we are the Father nation of faith, I believe, that our church in Korea should be able to support foreign missions rather than being supported by our mother church in Japan. So this is the hope which I have.

I hope that you can all help to make this vision come to reality, and if we can do so, our church can continue to grow and prosper and we can expand our membership pretty much infinitely (without end). Because we have a very good opportunity in Korea right now. There’s not much persecution or resistance (opposition) towards our True Parents or our church here. If we do a good job in serving the Korean people and educating them, many people are happy to come to our church and to support us. And hopefully with your support, we’ll get there.

Thank you for your attention. I hope you can accept my message. OK. Thank you (Standing ovation)

A lot of people wondered whether or not the leadership would ever change or whether or not we would ever seriously as a community think about church reform. But somehow by God’s will our True Parent have made some big changes.

Hyung Jin Nim’s Prayer:

Once again let’s give a big round of applause to Pastor Kook Jin Moon (Applause). Penetrating honesty!

OK brothers and sisters, let’s gather out hearts in prayer.

“Dear most beloved Heavenly Father, we thank You for this day, when we may return back and look at ourselves, Father. You allowed our brother to step before us and really allow us to assess (look at) ourselves, to see whether or not we are being a giver or a taker, Father. Let us all in our lives of faith, let us step forward. Let us truly build our community, and let us let this fatherland of Korea shine before this world.
Father we thank you for this day that you have blessed upon us. Please allow us to become the palaces of your love, your life and your lineage. We know that we will always keep You enthroned in our hearts of glory and we know You will bring us to more Victory, more Illumination, and more Peace. And we will become greater blessings unto this world. Thank You for this day.

We pray these things in all our names. Aju!

Hyung Jin Nim’s Final Prayer:

“I am alive, Thank you”. Father we thank You for this day that you have blessed upon us. Father we have heard Your message. Let us truly be honest, Father forthright in ourselves. Let us step up in our faith, Father. Let us be a giver and not a taker, Father. Let us help build this community. Father, let us help build our church, Your dwelling place, Your house here on earth so that Your children can come and gather, so that Your children can be prosperous and live an abundant life. Father, we know that starts and begins with us, living and thinking abundantly, sharing the blessings that You are giving to us with our community and with our Church.

We thank You for this opportunity that we can come together. We pray that we may absorb Your message, that we may go forth, remembering the tradition of Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Christ and up to our present day, Father, where we truly stand in the position, Father, of the historical fruit that You have prepared. Let us go forth and build a truly, truly, amazing Church, Father, for all peoples to come and gather, to be engrafted into Your love and Your life and Your lineage, and to experience the blessed life that You are blessing us to have. Let us truly be blessings to this world, to our community, to our brothers and sisters, to our believers in faith, our brothers and sisters here in faith.

Father we thank You for this day. Once more we pray with all our hearts, that You may guide our steps, that You may direct our paths, that You may light our way. Let us leave this place more wise, with more joy, Father, and with more victory. We know that You are giving us more Victory, more Illumination and more Peace every day. Thank you so much.

We are praying these things in our names. AJU!

Transcriber: Rev.Beatrice Clyburn

Edited by: Rev. Bruno Klotz

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