Everlasting Liberation

November 23, 2009

November 7, 2009, HQ Church, Seoul Korea

    This is the type of figure that the Messiah is. He does not come to give everybody an inspirational message. He comes to challenge the people, to bring them to a new level of faith, to cut them from sin and the life that has entrapped them.

Welcoming Remarks:
 
Yeon Ah Nim
 
Good afternoon, brothers and sisters! Welcome to the headquarters of the Unification Church! It is really great to see you all today.  We sincerely hope and pray that we become proud sons and daughters of Heavenly Father as Unificationists. Aju!
 
Hyung Jin Nim
 
Good afternoon, brothers and sisters! Let’s start by manifesting the Principle:  give and receive action; four position foundation; may I inherit the true love of God. Aju!
 
We are going to start with Cheon Seong Gyeong p.322 today. Father speaks: “Without love, unity cannot be attained. Words alone are not enough to unite two different people into one. Then, what is needed to unite them? There must be love.”
 
When we understand what True Father talks about when he talks about love – it’s not just the feeling, but it is the heart of the parent to care for that person, to even sacrifice for that person. That’s actually a very important part of being in a blessed relationship, to learn to sacrifice for your spouse.
 
We want to congratulate all the new spouses that are preparing to being blessed this time on November 16th. Father will be directly matching new blessed couples, particularly second and third generation. Let’s give a big round of encouragement for those new blessed couples. (Applause) We pray that those relationships may grow in that type of deep true love and that they may be a great example of hope and joy for the rest of the world.
 
Interesting Story:
 
We’d like to start with something a little interesting! I know we haven’t done this in a couple of weeks.  I heard a little story.  God had given the Israelites this incredible speech booming from the heavens and explaining the new covenant to Moses and the Israelites. After the incredible speech, Moses went up to the mountain and met God. He said, “God, that was an incredible speech! That was absolutely amazing. I think the Israelites are very inspired today. But God, I have one question.” God said, “What’s that Moses?” Moses said,” You want us to cut off what?”
 
Oh, you didn’t get it today, brothers and sister. Oh man! This is tough today!
 
I think you guys like it when it’s not funny!

Sermon by Hyung Jin Nim:
 
Brothers and sisters, today I want to talk to you about The Everlasting Liberation of God.
 
Let’s start with our world Scriptures today. We’re going to start with Christianity, II Corinthians, 3:17.  Let’s read this together: “Now the Lord is the spirit, and where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom!”
 
Let’s take a look at Buddhism today, the Sutta Nipata 9:48. Let’s read this together: “Selfish desire is a chain, shackled to the world, and it is a difficult one to break. But once that is done . . . the stream has been cut off and there are no more chains.” Aju!
 
This is from the Bhagavad-Gita 5:24. Let’s read this together:  “That disciplined man with joy and light within becomes one with God and reaches the freedom that is God’s.” Aju!
 
And True Parents’ words today; this is from the 329th volume. Let’s read it together. It’s a little lengthy but we’re going to read it together: “What does it feel like to experience the being of God? The interminable struggle between your mind and body, which formally plagued your self-centered life–when you put yourself as number one in everything you did–will completely disappear. Instead, you will live the life that God wants you to live:  living for others and giving yourself for the whole. Then true love will continue for ever, and God’s joy will be displayed in the spiritual world. You will experience such satisfaction and happiness as you have never felt before, because it will be connected to the whole. Thus, you will discover yourself in the state of liberation. “
 
You know even in my own studies, I could never really understand what Father was talking about here. It was only when I started really working in the ministry, and beyond that, particularly with this human rights’ violation issue in Japan (that I could understand).  When we really stand up to fight for the whole, to fight for our faith – then I could understand what Father was talking about here:  that “you will experience such a joy and happiness as you never felt before.”  In my own life, I have experienced many different types of joys; but really when we can stand up for other brothers and sisters whose rights and freedoms are being stripped away from them, and we can stand up for that incredible cause, then I really can start feeling the truth and the depth of that kind of teaching.
Let’s look at the Scripture. That is John 8:12 today, “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’ “

See, brothers and sisters, we have to understand that the Messiah does not come as we think. We often tell VIPs when they come to meet Father and  want to hear him speak, we often  tell them beforehand,” You probably are not going to be inspired or encouraged; you are going to be challenged! You are going to hear a very long speech probably, and you will be challenged in many different ways.”

We explain to them that the Messiah does not come to bring us peace, just like Jesus said in Matthew 10:34, ”I come not to bring peace, but I come to bring a sword”. (The Messiah brings) the sword that cuts us away from fallen lineage and fallen life and fallen love. The Messiah does not come just to just make us feel good. The Messiah comes with an incredible desperation.  He comes as an incredible challenge to the world.  So when we explain this to them, we say, “You know, many times you may think that Father is very shocking, that he acts in very radical ways.”

 I was talking to a new church member. He was a former evangelical Korean Christian, he joined through the Chedang (business foundation).  He said he’s been in the church for a couple of years now, about four years, and is working with the church, attending church, etc . . . .  And he said, “You know all my negative feelings towards Unificationists have disappeared.  I have met the people, I have seen that they are (real) people – that they eat dinner too; and they do all sorts of normal things, but I am a little stuck. I still can’t understand why Father does these incredibly big weddings, or why Father does the crowning ceremony of God or why Father comes out and wears king’s robes. I can’t understand that. That looks very cultish to me. It looks very controversial.”  I told him, “Look, we have to understand what the Messiah is. He is not here to simply please the world or the society.”

And I told him, “Look at Jesus! You are a Christian. You should look at the Bible, look at Jesus! Look how even cultish Christ acts.” In John 8, this is where the quote comes from, Jesus is on the Mount of Olives, and he is preaching.  He is going into the synagogues, even in the midst of the rituals. He is just walking into the synagogues and he is proclaiming before the people, the Pharisees and the different Jewish traditions there.  He’s saying, “I am the light of the world, anyone who follows me will never be in darkness.” This is a very strong type of teaching.  The Pharisees say, ”You are demon-possessed.” They start chastising, condemning. “You are crazy, you are possessed by Satan,” they say. “Your testimony is not valid because you are testifying on your behalf alone. “
And Jesus says, “It says in your law that you need two; one to testify and one as a witness. I testify on my behalf and God is my witness. “They get very upset. They start attacking him, “Jesus you are crazy.” Here’s a 30 year-old man, probably no taller than I am, and he is walking around intruding in the temples and saying such things as, “I am the light of the world.”
 
In verse 44, he goes on to say, “You are not of your father, the God of Abraham, you are of your father, the devil.” He basically says, “You are Satan’s children.” He is totally challenging them.
 
They say, “Our father is not the devil; our father is Abraham, that is our father.” In verse 56, Jesus said, “Did you know that Abraham rejoiced; he rejoiced to see my day.” He rejoiced, he saw it and was glad. It’s almost like a spiritual message from Abraham.  “Did you know that he is rejoicing at my day?” is what Jesus is saying.
 
And then in verse 58, they get angry at Jesus and say, “How can a 30 year old man – you are not even 50 yet – claim to see Abraham?” and he said, “Before Abraham was born, I am!” Now this is quite shocking for people at that time.
 
This is the type of figure that the Messiah is. He does not come to give everybody an inspirational message. He comes to challenge the people, to bring them to a new level of faith, to cut them from sin and the life that has entrapped them.
 
I explained to this Korean former evangelist, “When we understand Jesus we can actually understand True Father a lot more.” There are reasons why Jesus and True Father had to proclaim themselves as the Messiah.  First, of course, they had to spread the message; but as time went on, why did they have to continue to do such a thing?
 
When we reflect on it, we can see that even at the time of Jesus, the Apostles who followed Christ started lacking in faith. They started saying, “Jesus, you are too radical. It’s hard to present you to the public!  I don’t know if I can show you to my friends. You are quite radical, Jesus.” They are getting ashamed, even embarrassed about Jesus; and so they stop declaring him as the Messiah. And so Jesus had to go out; he had to go out and declare himself.
 
When I saw this passage in John 8, it reminded me of what happened to our own church, how we forgot to declare True Father as the Messiah. We explained him as a patriot, and a great person of peace, etc.  But that’s comparing him to peace activists and comparing him to patriots of nations that we see, or politicians or people who are always very polite.
 
Father is not comparable to those people. When he gets on stage, he is screaming; screaming and shouting and hollering and saying, “You must cut away your fallen lineage, etc.” He talks about absolute relationships and all these kinds of things that seem extremely radical.
 
But we have to see why  Father did get into this kind of situation. And many times when I look at even my own life, we forgot as a community for about a decade how to declare True Father as the Messiah; how to explain to the world that the Messiah does not come in the way that we think. He comes to challenge us. He comes to give us a new insight, to make us at times uncomfortable with ourselves so we can come into a new dimension with God.
 
And we have watched him doing such things like declaring himself as the Messiah. We have seen media say negative things about him and we have felt ashamed that he had done such things, and we have even blamed him for it. ”Father why do you have no politeness or etiquette? Why do you speak for hours on end? Our VIPs can’t eat, they can’t eat their dinner. Why do you do such things?”
 
But you know we must always look at this in context.  In studying the Buddhist tradition, when I lived with a Tibetan Buddhist, I was struck by this one point. The Dalai Lama is the Incarnation in that tradition; he is the living embodiment of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara — that is the Buddha of Compassion. That is basically a perfected being, almost a God – a deity – a person that can become a full Buddha, which is a perfect being, but one that relinquishes that freedom so that he can save other sentient beings.
 
But never once did I hear the Dalai Lama proclaim himself as the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. Maybe on some occasions he expressed that he has inklings towards such things or he has an appreciation for that Bodhisattva. But I have met countless Tibetan Buddhists, countless Tibetan Buddhists. Whenever they talk about the Dalai Lama, they see him as the incarnation of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. They are declaring that the Dalai Lama is who he says he is or he is whom they believe him to be.
 
And in the same way, it is our responsibility as people of faith, and as the apostles and the disciples of True Parents, to be able to have that kind of faith – the faith that can free Father from declaring himself as the Messiah; and for us to be able to rise up in our faith and be able to declare him to the world in the way that he truly is. Let’s give it up for True Father (applause) . . . . and True Mother (applause)

This is a very important point.

Let us look at John 8: 31-32. Let’s read this together. Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” We’ve heard this one.

When I was on the street witnessing, just a couple of weeks ago, we were at a bus stop terminal, and we met some wonderful people.  We met some Jehovah’s witnesses, exchanged some Bible verses with them, we explained to them about our tradition. We gave them the flyers.  On the flyer it declares True Parents as the Messiah. It says Rev. Moon is the Messiah. He is the returning Lord, the returning Christ.

I walked up to this group of 4 elderly women. They were probably in their 60’s; nice ladies, nice Korean young ladies, and I sat down next to them at the bus terminal. And I said, “Anyeong haseo ladies, hello ladies, how are you doing? Would you like to have this flyer? My father came up with this wonderful autobiography. It’s the best-seller in Kyobo. It was the best-seller on that day in Hyun Pung bookstore. It was the #1 best seller that day.” And I explained to them about the flyer. They said, “We don’t want that flyer! We don’t want. That’s Rev Moon. We don’t want that flyer!” I said, “Why not? It’s a nice flyer!” They said, “We are Korean Christians. We don’t like.  We don’t like; we don’t want that flyer” And I said, “Oh! You are Christian, that’s wonderful, because Rev Moon is the Messiah. You’ve been waiting 2,000 years for him.”

Ooooh! OOH! They started hollering. They started ruffling around. “Oooh, how can you say this person is the Messiah? That’s crazy!! Jesus . . . Jesus is Messiah! How can you say Jesus is not Messiah and Rev Moon is Messiah?”  I said, “Look, how can I say, ‘this person is the Messiah’? Was Jesus not a person?” “Yes, Jesus was a person.” “Was Jesus not the Messiah?” “Yes he was.” “Wasn’t Jesus called a heretic and a false prophet?” “Yes he was.” “Same as True Father; that is the same that is happening!” And we ended up having this wonderful energetic discussion – incredible – it was very fun. I think it was very good; a fantastic discussion and at the end of it, they told me to go away.  (laughter)  But . . . but . . . but, I thanked them. I said, “Ladies, I had a wonderful time!” I said, ‘’Can I shake your hand?” “No! No shaking hand!” And I said, “You ladies have a wonderful day! God bless you today!”

You know what happened? Of course these people did not convert into our Unification tradition. They are not now running around declaring that True Father is the Messiah.  But what happened? In my own heart I felt totally liberated, totally liberated. Why? Because I felt proud that I could proudly declare my faith. I could declare True Father as the Messiah; that this was my democratic right, that we have freedom of religion, and that we could discuss this with the Christians openly.  This was a new type of experience that these people had.

You have to remember that this faith is real. It goes out and declares True Parents as the coming Lord. It is the faith that got the Apostles of Christ persecuted and stoned. This same type of faith is what Unificationists have. Particularly in Japan, we’ve heard about this issue – we’ve brought this up many times during service about the incredible human rights violations – the 4,300 confirmed cases of illegal kidnappings and confinements in Japan.  Of course, there are even some cases of rape, and even murder. In this age of liberation, our members – particularly our members in Japan – are still dealing with this issue. We were in Nigata just last week; they are still dealing with this issue. It was a real issue for our brothers and sisters there.

But there is an incredible advancement. I have to report this to you, because it is so incredible. We have this incredible case where for 43 years we’ve been persecuted by Christian ministers and Communist lawyers who have created this organization. I spoke about this many times. They kidnap our Unificationists; they explain to the parents of those families that Unificationists make their children crazy, all these kind of things, and then they illegally kidnap them and confine them.  Many times our members will be put in an apartment.  They will rent an apartment, throw the member in there, tape up the windows and confine them within there. Every day a Christian pastor will come up, slander the Unification Church, tell them why the Unification Church is not the right church, and tell them why they should relinquish their faith.  These are the kinds of faith-breaking activities.

These kinds of hate crimes have been perpetuated against us, not just once, not just twice, but 4,300 times. The Japanese members, if you talk to them, they all know about this issue. But it has been such an incredible issue for them because for the last 43 years they have tried to come to justice.  There were times where  actually the police came to the place in which a person was confined, and they were screaming, hollering, “Let me out, please, free me, free me!” and the police just walked away after they were told that this was the Unification Church, saying, ”Oh this is a family issue. I’m leaving now.”

So a new thing happened just two weeks ago, for the first time in our history, and I have to report this to you guys. Just two weeks ago, Kook Jin Hyung who is now taking responsibility for Japan,  for our organization there, he organized a professional team of private detectives and lawyers. We located the place of one member who was actually presently confined. She was 29 years old, she was illegally kidnapped and she was confined in Japan.  This is a democratic country, Japan.  The private detectives and the lawyers located her. They did not go to her directly;    they went to the police. They told the police that the police must come to free this person. They escorted the police, and the spiritual mother of that sister who was confined came along with them.
 
They arrived at the location which was very close to this pastor’s church, the pastor that actually kidnapped them and was deprogramming them, so to speak. His name is Takayama. And they rang the bell and they said, “This is so-and-so-and-so. We know that so-and- so- and- so is in this place and we request that we be able to see her. I am her friend and I am her spiritual mother, etc…” They responded, “We are not going to do that. No, go away!” Then they put the police on the bell (let the police ring the bell). The police said, “This is the police, you have to allow that person to speak on her behalf as a democratic citizen.”

That sister who was confined, she then was asked by the police over the speaker phone, “Do you wish to come out and see them?” She said, “I do.”  The sister came out and she saw her spiritual mother who was there; and she ran to her spiritual mother. They started breaking down in tears, and she said, “I want to leave this place,” in front of the policemen. And for the first time in our Japanese history, one of our sisters who was illegally kidnapped and confined was free. She was totally free, liberated! (Applause)

Freedom . . . freedom of religion . . . freedom!  (HJN shouts to lots of applause)
First time in history! She was free! This was the first time this had happened in the history of our Japanese church.  As a church, we organized a professional unit to go out and free these members whose human rights are being violated.

But then an incredible thing came out of her testimony when she explained what happened. She’s just 29 years old, and she explained the incredible kind of torture she received, the psychological beatings she received, and the confinement. They duck-taped all the windows up, so she could not open them and jump out the window.  Now, this is a democratic state, this is in a democratic country, brothers and sisters; we have to remember this.   She was in confinement for 67 days – of course, that was nothing compared to some of our brothers and sisters who have been confined for 12 years and 5 months, like Goto-san; and one sister confined for over 10 years, a decade of her life gone. But this sister, in particular, was confined for 67 days, and she was having this deprogramming session where the Takayama minister – the Christian minister – was attacking the church and slandering the church, and saying, ”You must break your faith, you must do this etc.”  He then got very frustrated after many days and days of trying to educate her.

One day he said to her, ”I am very frustrated with you. Do you know that that fool Kook Jin is trying to put me in prison?  He is sending my picture all over America. He’s trying to put me in prison.”  When our sister heard that from the kidnapper while she was being confined and illegally abducted, when she heard that, she thought, “Ooh! Kook Jin Nim’s trying to put you in prison!”  She said she got such an incredible surge of strength and faith. She said she felt almost totally liberated, because somebody was fighting on her behalf and because – while she had no power to escape – somebody on the outside was fighting for her freedom!

Let’s give it up for Kook Jin Hyung and the brothers and sisters that worked to free her. (Applause) Hallelujah! This is an incredible day, incredible day for our church because we are fighting and we are discovering our freedom once again. This is absolutely incredible!

Let’s look at John 8: 35-36. Let’s read this together. “Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Aju!
You see, brothers and sisters, when we understand that we have been set free from Satan’s lineage and love and life by the victory of True Parents’ full inheritance of God’s essence – His true love – and that through the seven deaths and resurrections we also received the resurrection power that even multiple deaths cannot destroy, then we realize that the age of liberation and freedom for our members has come.

Those who perpetrated hate crimes against us – they did it with a purpose. They did it to break our faith, to kill our faith, to kill our hope in our future; to try to teach us that we have no future: “You guys are going to be over!” But they did not know that we have the power of the seven deaths and resurrections, and that even though the Unification Church may seem like it’s dying, and even though we die and die again, we still can be resurrected – and resurrected again — with the power of true love, and true faith and True Parents! Let’s give it up for True Parents, brothers and sisters! (Applause)

You see, we as Unification Church, and those whom True Parents have set free, we will be free from the death of our movement and our faith.  We will have faith in declaring our beliefs as our democratic right, our right to practice our religion, our democratic right to believe in our faith.
Because of this small, incredible victory, now it’s beginning to happen in Japan on the ground — the liberation’s beginning. We know now that our faith will last for ever. Let’s give it up for UC!  For all our brothers and sisters around the world! (Applause) Now is a day of freedom for us!
I want to end with a quote from Isaiah 49: 8-10. Let’s read this together. It’s very beautiful! Let’s read this together: 

8 This is what the LORD says: 
       “In the time of my favor I will answer you, 
       and in the day of salvation I will help you; 
       I will keep you and will make you 
       to be a covenant for the people, 
       to restore the land…
9 to say to the captives, ‘Come out,’ 
       and to those in darkness, ‘Be free!’…
10 They will neither hunger nor thirst, 
       nor will the desert heat or the sun beat upon them. 
       He who has compassion on them will guide them 
       and lead them beside springs of water.

Brothers and sisters, let’s give it up for True Parents who lead us to those everlasting springs of water and for the freedom that is now coming to our brothers and sisters around the world. Let’s give it up for our brothers and sisters, and True Parents once more. (Applause)

Altar Call Prayer by Hyung Jin Nim:

Let us pray. Let us close our eyes and lift up our hands towards heaven. Let’s offer our prayers as we listen to the song that sings of the Seven Deaths and Resurrections, the victory of true love, the victory of True Parents, and that we are alive.
Heavenly Father, dearest most beloved True Parents: thank you so much for leading us in our life to the point where we are today. Many times we get discouraged by how much more we have to go. In those times let us be encouraged by how much, how far we have already come. Five years ago so many were saying that the Unification Church was over, that it would not continue into the next generations, that the faith would die, that the prophecies that your son is True Parents were false. But we have walked the path of indemnity, and we as a community have served and attended the Messiah. Brothers and sisters have sacrificed their whole lives and, particularly in Japan, have been walking the path of complete attendance to True Parents, supporting our entire world providence; supporting our Korean church, the American church, the Russian church – every single church was supported by our brothers and sisters in Japan. Heavenly Father we want to recognize that that kind of love only came through their incredible faith.
 
Even though we have been shaken in our own lives, the brothers and sisters who had served and who had sacrificed themselves walked that incredible path. Today we want to remember them because in this era their human rights are being violated; hate crimes are being perpetrated against them. We want to pray for them today. Not only do we want to pray but we also want to practice our faith. We want to go out and declare our democratic right to believe in True Parents as the Messiah. Just like Christians declare Jesus. We pray that we may have a stronger faith and that we may realize that it is because of this faith that they are suffering; and that only through the strengthening of their faith can people realize that their human rights have been abused.
 
Father, we pray that You may imbue us with a stronger heart, that we may stand up in this time for the greater purpose of having the day where we as Unificationists can freely practice our religion without fear of being kidnapped or abducted or raped. We wish to practice our faith. We want to pray for them, because for the first time in the history of our world-wide Unification movement, two weeks ago, our sister was freed from her confinement of 67 days.  We know that it is because of the working of Your spirit that she saw freedom that day.
 
We want to remember this day because it marks the new era for us as Unificationists. It marks a new era where we can boldly declare what we believe without fear. Let us have that fearless faith to declare our True Parents as the Messiah and the Returning Christ. Let us return to that faith once more. Revive us and resurrect us in a greater way, so that in a greater way we can change this world, that we can bring justice and freedom to those who have suffered.
 
We want to pray for our brothers and sisters in Japan. We offer our hearts to them today because they are our family and family stands for one another. We are so grateful that we can experience this day together as a community around the world. What a great day it is! Let freedom and liberation of our faith last and endure forever. We thank You so much.
 
We want to offer these prayers in gratitude to True Parents and to You, for the deaths and resurrections that they have lived through and that through that victory we also are resurrected, our movement is resurrected and our freedom is resurrected. Thank You so much. We offer all these things to You in our own names as central blessed families and proud Unificationists, in the name of True Parents. Aju!

Read the rest of this entry »


Rev. Hyung Jin Nim's Interesting Story

November 23, 2009

We always like to start with something a little interesting.  I heard this little story: 

Bill was having a little trouble raising his son.  You know, the son would not listen to him, giving him trouble, not really paying attention in school.  He was really giving him a lot of heartbreak. 

One day Bill was in the Bible study class.  They were discussing the miracles in the Bible and the pastor was there and he was asking the people in the class,  “What were some of the great miracles in the Bible?”

So they were discussing Moses transforming the sticks into snakes, or opening up the Red Sea, parting the Red Sea.  Another congregant said, “You know I really think the best part in the Bible is Jesus walking on the water, healing the sick, opening the eyes of those who are blind.” 

But Bill heard this whole lecture, and towards the end he got up and said, “You know, all of you are wrong.   The greatest miracle in the Bible was when Joshua told his son to stand still and he listened.”

Sermon: Being brave in sharing about True Parents / April 25th 2009

Read the rest of this entry »


Rev. Hyung Jin Nim's Prayer

November 23, 2009

Heavenly Father, thank You so much for being with us today. We want to declare that we are Unificationists. We are not going to be scared anymore of who we are. We are not going to feel guilty when we share our faith, thinking we are doing something wrong or that it is unpopular. We are going to be proud of who we are.
 
We, on the ground, live our lives, we take our children to school, we try to work with other people and at times our brothers and sisters, we, are persecuted and discriminated against, for what we believe. We know it’s so easy to just say: “Alright, then I won’t talk about what I believe!” But, Father, let us be skillful, let us be wise. Let us not be foolish and walk around with loud speakers and try to create havoc and chaos. Father, let us be wise, proud and passionate of who we are.
 
When we are challenged and when we are being discriminated against, let us not strike back and act foolishly, childishly and emotionally.  But let us do as Jesus did, as Martin Luther King did, as True Father did his entire life. Let us say: “You may strike me now but you will not win in the end. You have the losing strategy in striking us. But we have the winning strategy in trying and living to inherit God’s true love.” Let us be proud of who we are and what we are here to do.
 
We pray that You may be with each and every one of our brothers and sisters here today. Give them strength and faith. Give them life in their walk with You and let us realize that we are not alone. We have angels and brothers and sisters that are with us. They are walking together in this life of faith with us. Let us know today that we can be proud of who we are. We can be proud in sharing True Parents and in sharing our faith. We can be proud of ourselves as Unificationists.

Let us know that we are relevant and that it IS our time. You prepared so much and we are ready. We are ready now not to be bullied anymore. But we are not going to fight the bully with  fists. We will fight them with true love.
 
We thank You so much for giving us this day, where You challenge us once again to see ourselves in a new light. We pray that You may fill our hearts today, be with us this coming week and send those Abel angels to be with us, protect us and protect our children. We want to pray for them right now. We want to pray that they are empowered and rejuvenated, that they don’t get tired. We pray that they are also spiritually rejuvenated.

Thank You for preparing this wonderful time together. We pray that we can truly move forward to bring our tradition to the world stage, to be relevant and to offer CIG to You.
 
We pray this in our own names as blessed central families, as one. Aju! 

Sermon: Being brave in sharing about True Parents / April 25th 2009

Read the rest of this entry »


Our Offering by Rev. Michael Brazil

November 12, 2009

October 31st, 2009, Headquarters Church, Seoul, Korea

    What can we learn today? I think we can learn four things.  First: all offerings, however small, however seemingly insignificant, if made with the right heart, have great value, are greatly appreciated, and are greatly needed. Second: Be careful! To whom much is given, much is expected. Third: Do not hesitate to give, do not hesitate to offer. Do not wait until that offering might be larger, because you may not get another opportunity. Give when you can. And fourth: Become the kind of person of whom others will ask or at least think, “Wow! Is she Mrs. Moon? Is he Rev. Moon? Is he Jesus?”

Opening Prayer:

Let us pray. Our most beloved Heavenly Father and True Parents, we would like to thank You for allowing us to come together. It is a special day, with our brothers and sisters from around the world, and we thank You. Father, we may have different backgrounds. We may have different situations or challenges, but we know that there is only one thing that makes us come together and that is love – love for our True Parents.
 
Father, we want to thank You for allowing us to be a part of this incredible history. We want to thank You that we are part of, and believing in, this very important moment in history. That we are living with our True Parents, receiving direct inspiration from the True Children, especially from our Hyung Jin Nim and Yeon Ah Nim. To share words with them, and to smile and laugh with them – what an amazing grace, Father.
 
Sometimes we didn’t realize how blessed we are. Even though we have shortcomings and many limitations, Father, You are always there to embrace us with Your love, with Your care, giving us hope in the times of our difficulties. We are very grateful, Father. Today we are about to receive another inspiration from our speaker, and we hope that through him we can understand more of God’s heart and True Parents’ heart, and connect ourselves in our hearts with them.
 
Father in Heaven, we would like to ask Your presence to dwell with us, and I pray as well that we can support, love and care for each other as a community, as a family; that as we go out, we can meet people with whom we can share God’s words and True Parents’ words; and that we will do it with great confidence and pride, showing them what wonderful people we are, and that we are God and True Parents’ children. We thank You, with our hearts in gratitude. In our names as Blessed Central Families we pray, Aju.
 
Welcoming Remarks:
 
Mrs. Genn Toffey
 
Welcome brothers and sisters. We are so glad you are here. Even though it is raining, it keeps us all really awake and really refreshed, and we are really happy that you braved the wonderful wet weather. Thank you for coming.
 
Rev. Kyle Toffey
 
Brothers and Sisters from around the world, welcome. We are so grateful to see you come. Actually, it’s a really wonderful thing to stand up here and to look at you.
 
Mrs. Genn Toffey
 
I want to read from the Cheon Seong Gyeong, on page 326:
 
God created the world with a purpose to realize His desire of absolute love through the oneness of Himself and human beings. He created human beings as His highest and very best object partners of love.
 
What do human beings live for? If you answer they live for love, that is a wonderful answer. Life is originally created with the intention at the beginning of creation for us to be born as the fruit of true love, to live with love, and in the end to return to the bosom of our God of eternal love.
 
So you know, that means God created you, specifically YOU, to be His highest and very best object partners of love. That means we have to love each other as if we are God. We have to treat each other as if the person you are talking to is actually God.
 
When I joined the church in the seventies we had small groups and we met every morning and every night.  We all made goals, and one of the goals that people would typically make for that day was to treat every single person as though they were talking to God, as though that person was actually God.
 
At that time, people would just want to move in, because they could see through the relationship of the members that we truly loved each other. Our leaders were so sincere, so loving, and so sacrificial; and the members were trying so hard to become patient, and to become loving, and to treat each person not just with respect, not just to bow, not just to appreciate the age or the experience of that person, but to truly love them, like heart to heart love. People just wanted to move in. We had the problem of too many people. We called that “Happy Trouble.” It is a good problem.
 
Now, at our witnessing program on Thursday nights at 7:30, we have a wonderful gentleman who comes every single Thursday. Why? He found one little witnessing paper with a map on it for our church, on a chair in Itaewon, and he thought, “Oh, I should check this out.” But why does he come every single week? It’s because he feels appreciated. He feels supported in his goals. He says he actually only understands five percent of what we say, because he is Korean, and he doesn’t really understand English, but he understands heart. Heart is universal. It doesn’t matter what language we speak, it what every person wants. It is the core.
 
When we used to ask what Father was talking about, someone would say “true love.” He would speak seven hours about true love. That is really Father’s heart, and that is the most important thing in our church – true love. So if we have that kind of church, and we have that kind of spirit in all our activities, we don’t have to worry about people coming. They will come automatically. They will just want to move in. They will just want to come to all the programs. That is the beginning of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. That is the beginning of true love for all of us.
 
Let us all rise, and let us begin by manifesting our Principle position of give and take relationship, give and receive four position foundation; I inherit the true love of God, Aju. Now let us say Family Pledge number one.
 
Meditation Practise:
 
As we now stand, let us first join our mind and body unity through meditation. Let’s reach down to the earth, and feel the energy of the universe that is supporting us, and let us reach down and pull [that energy] into us as we breathe in; reach up and exhale. And from Heaven, let us bring down the love and the joy and the blessings. As we breathe in, and exhale back to the universe. And one more time, let us breathe in deeply. Pull in the blessings, breathe in the joy, and exhale. Again, let’s touch the face of God, and bring God into our very being by breathing in, then exhaling.
 
Please be seated. As you sit, please sit towards the forward part of your chair, with your back straight, as we enter our time of meditation. Let’s close our eyes, and we will visualize ourselves not here in this sanctuary, but on a quiet country road, in the middle of autumn. As we walk slowly down this road, the first thing we notice is that we can hear the leaves swishing underneath our feet. As we step we can hear them crunch, and we look down at the leaves on the road ahead, and there are so many different colors of the leaves. We notice that each leaf is a little different. There are different colors ranging from bright yellow to a deep brown, with everything in between from reds and oranges and golds. It’s like a pathway before us as we stroll along. We look up at the trees above us that form a canopy on this beautiful road. The leaves that are still hanging on the trees are so beautiful, and the blue sky behind it is the perfect setting for these trees. The light flashes on our eyes as we walk through, filtered down through the leaves of gold, yellow, red and green. We look at the leaves and realize in that moment, that God created this scene for you, for me. We look at the leaves and realize that this is an expression of God’s love for me. And in that beauty we close our eyes, and we take a deep breath and say to ourselves, “I am alive”, and as we exhale we say, “Thank You.” Again, we take a deep breath, smell the autumn air and say, “I am alive,” and as we exhale we say, “Thank You.” One final breath, “I am alive,” as we exhale, “Thank You.”
 
Now is the time when we come together in prayer. As Hyung-jin nim is always asking us, we need to pray for those who
have gone before us and are supporting us in our day to day life. There are so many spirits in the spirit world who have done so much in the past so that we could be here today. So we want to thank them in our prayers. We also want to pray that they can be blessed as we have been blessed, for their efforts in trying to help us in our mission and in our daily life. Those evil spirits that are around us, let’s pray for them. Pray that they can be liberated, as we have been liberated. Listen to the music, and pray along with us in unison.
 
The next part of the service is probably my most favorite, and that is where I ask you all to stand up, and I want you to physically manifest that feeling of love and joy that God has for each and everyone of us, by turning around to those around you and giving them your best greetings. And if you came with your husband or wife, give them a big hug, and tell them you love them three times.
 
Interesting Story:
 
Brothers and Sisters, let’s give it up for Two Rivers’ Choir, and please be seated; and welcome everyone. Very nice to see you. To start in the tradition of our senior pastor, we like to start with something, as he says, a little bit interesting. Today I have a story about getting into Heaven.
A man finds himself standing in front of the pearly gates; and Saint Peter explains that it’s not easy to get into Heaven. There are some criteria that must be met, for not anyone is allowed. So Saint Peter asked him, “Were you a churchgoer, or religious?” The man says, “no”. Saint Peter told him “That’s bad.” Was he giving money to the poor, or to charities? “no.” Saint Peter told him that, too, was bad.

Did he do any good deeds, such as helping his neighbor? Anything? The man said, “no.” Saint Peter was becoming concerned, and said, “look, everyone does something nice sometimes; work with me, I’m trying to help you. Now think.”
The man thinks for a minute, and says, “Well, I did help this old lady once I came out of a store and saw that a dozen Hell’s Angels (these are big, bad men with motorcycles) had taken her purse, and they were pushing her around. I threw my bags down, and I got her purse, and then I told the biggest biker that he was cowardly, and I spat in his face.”
“Wow!” says Saint Peter; “that’s impressive. When did this happen?” “Oh, about 15 minutes ago,” replied the man.” (laughter)
 
 
Main Sermon by Rev. Michael Brazil:
 
I’d like to start with a picture, if I may. What is this? It’s a mat. What kind of mat? It could be an exercise mat. What else? It could be a sleeping mat or perhaps a mat that you put your sleeping bag on.  Anything else? A bowing mat, a kyung-bae mat. That’s very possible. Well, I had a very interesting experience with one of these mats.
 
About six weeks ago, I had a very interesting dream.  Recently, in the past few months, the ministers here at headquarters church have been doing early morning – very early morning – meditation . Usually sometime during the day I would take a nap. I had to take a nap! Sometimes I took a nap in my chair, but I definitely preferred to take a nap on this mat.  It’s very simple, very humble, about so thick (he shows).
 
In this dream I had six weeks ago, I woke up and looked over to my right and saw True Father. Now, if you are here for the first time, if you’ve never visited our church before, in our church and in our movement we call the Founders “Parents”, and because we believe that they have exhibited – and do exhibit – God’s true love and true heart, we call them “True Parents”, True Father and True Mother, Rev and Mrs Moon.
 
So, in this dream, I looked over and saw True Father, Rev Moon, asleep in a very unusual position. I am not even sure this is possible. He had been sitting on a chair and he somehow slid forward. His bottom was still on the chair and his forehead was on the floor. Now, try to picture that. I tried to find a picture of this but was unable to. Once again, his forehead was on the floor and his bottom was still on the chair. I think that must be a very painful position. Imagine all of that weight was on his forehead.
 
Looking at this, first I was surprised and thought, “Wow! True Father must truly be exhausted to be asleep in that position!” And then, I began to struggle. Why did I struggle? Because I thought, “Well, I have this simple mat. Maybe I should offer this mat to True Father. But no! I can’t give this simple mat. I should give a really nice bed, or at least a thick mattress for True Father to sleep on. But this humble mat? What will he think?” So, believe it or not, I struggled. It should be a no-brainer, right? It should be easy. What do I do?  ShalI I wake him up,  offer him the mat? I struggled.
 
Finally I decided, “Well, even this humble mat is much better than the position he is in now. OK, I’m going to wake True Father and I’m going to offer him this mat.” And as I reached out  to touch him, to nudge him and wake him up, the dream changed and I moved to the next scene.
 
In this scene, True Father and I were sitting across from each other. He was totally awake, and he seemed quite inspired. He started asking me about myself, “Oh, how are you doing?” He started asking me about my wife. He seemed to know her, so I was inspired. I said, “ Oh, she’s doing well.” Then the next scene appeared and True Father was gone, and then I woke up.
 
Well, when I woke up, naturally I was very inspired about having such a dream, but also I began to think, “OK, am I supposed to learn something here? What’s the meaning?” Of course there are many ways to interpret dreams, but probably the person who had the dream is best suited to interpret it. Perhaps they know intuitively in their heart the message they are supposed to receive.
 
I thought about this for a couple of days and came to two conclusions.  The first one, very obvious: Rev Moon is exhausted.  Somehow I could understand because I had recently been feeling pretty exhausted myself, but he, every day, is so exhausted.  But it was the second point that meant so much to me: Regardless of how small your offering is, if it’s given with heart it is truly appreciated. What I offered to Rev Moon in that dream was so humble and so simple, a simple mat, but I felt he was so happy and joyful about receiving it. And this, I believe, is what God feels about us. Regardless of how small your offering might be, how small your giving might be, God is so inspired by that if it’s done with the right heart. I think we tend to forget that. So, even the smallest offering is valuable, it’s appreciated, it’s needed. And, if you think about it, if you combine many small offerings together, it becomes what? A large offering!
 
I’d like to take a few minutes and look at some world Scriptures. Let’s read together.
 
Our first passage comes from Hinduism. This comes from the Upanishads: “Whatever is given should be given with faith, not without faith – with joy, with modesty, with fear, with kindness.”
 
And next, let’s take a look at Christianity. This is taken from 2 Corinthians 9:7: “Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
 
Have you ever heard that one: “God loves a cheerful giver”?
 
Let’s take a look at Judaism. This comes from the Talmud: “Whether we bring much or little, it matters not, if only we fix our hearts upon our Father in heaven.”
 
This is a very beautiful saying.
 
Let’s look at Buddhism next. This comes from the Sutta Nipata: “‘Make your offering,’said the Master, ‘As you make it, be pleased in mind. Make your mind completely calm and contented. Focus and fill the offering-mind with the giving. From this secure position you can be free from ill will.’”
 
And finally, let’s take a look at Unificationism, words from our True Parents: “The Unification Church states that salvation comes through attendance. It is justification through attendance; in other words salvation through attendance. When men buy suits for each season, they should be doing that for Heavenly Father as well. However, since He does not have a body, they should combine a monetary offering with their devotion instead. During these seasons they should make an offering in the donation box for the sake of the church, with a tearful heart of attending God, regardless of whether anyone is watching. If they can do so, that devotion will accumulate… This way of living should be real and expressed; not remain only as a concept.”
 
So what is the point of these readings? I would say that what is needed is heart. When we give, when we offer anything, it’s the heart that is of importance.  And we also need to give joyfully and have the right motivation for heaven. I think we all know this.  But did you notice that it also refers to the size? And what is interesting is that oftentimes that what appears to be very small as an offering in our eyes, can be quite large in the eyes of our Creator, our Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother.
 
Let’s take a look at examples of this. In the Scriptures there is a great example, in Mark 12: 41-43, where Jesus is talking about a poor widow.  Let’s read together: “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction
of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.’”
 
How is that possible? Anyone? How is that possible? What’s the answer? It’s heart, right? It’s her heart. Obviously the rich people gave or donated from their abundance. She donated from the little she had, from her heart. So, it’s interesting. People watching her would think, “Oh! what a small amount!”, but that’s not what God thought, right? That’s not what Jesus thought. When Jesus looked at that situation, he knew that that woman had given much more; in the eyes of God that small offering was quite large.
 
I think we could say that Jesus is inviting us to have the same inner heart that that woman had, that we also should love God with all our heart, and all our soul and all our mind as she demonstrated.
 
Here is another example I’d like to share with you. Recently a sister in our church shared with me, with some embarrassment, that recently she had started her Cheon Bok Gung donation. She had started with a very small amount and she was very apologetic to me. But actually, I was really inspired and I felt God also was really inspired.  I really believed that because of the determination she had, undoubtedly she would reach her goal. Again, such a small amount, but that’s what she could give, and because she was giving it with an amazing heart, I really felt God could receive that donation.
 
Now, I want you to be careful. Somebody might be sitting here thinking, “Wow! Did I just hear Rev. Brazil correctly? Is he saying I can offer just a little? Oh! I’m really happy I came to church today. Oh, happy day!”
 
Not so fast!  I often quote to myself the following passage, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” Let’s take a closer look at that Scripture, Luke 12: 48. Let’s read together: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
 
So, I’m sorry. Please don’t misunderstand me! If you have been blessed with much, of course God expects much. If you haven’t been blessed with so much – yet – then of course, based on heart we give. God is looking at the heart – right? – not the amount. So, if you can give much but you just give a little, is that a good heart? Of course not! So that’s a passage that I often quote to myself. Again, be careful.
 
However, today I want to focus on the seemingly small and seemingly insignificant offerings that we may hesitate to give, or we may hesitate to offer. Now, I am not just speaking of money. There are many other ways that we can offer, we can give things to others, to the church, for example. Would you like to give me some examples? What are some of the ways that you can offer? Time, that’s an excellent one. What else? Service, great! What else? Cleaning, that’s a great one. What else? Conditions, OK. What else? Witnessing. Any others? Appreciation, offering someone a compliment, lending your ears, simply listening to someone, especially at two o’clock in the morning. That would definitely fit in the category of an offering. A kind action!  These are all offerings.
 
However, it’s really interesting that oftentimes we don’t take the action because we feel perhaps it’s too little, it’s too insignificant, it won’t make any difference. Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever thought that way? However, sometimes the smallest gesture can make a huge impact on someone’s life. Have you ever heard of such stories where a small act of kindness changed a person’s life?
 
Let’s take a look at this next quote, very interesting words. A wise man said this: “Remember there is no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”
 
There’s a great commercial that I saw in America, on the Internet. I’m sorry I don’t know what the product is, but it’s a great commercial. In this commercial, there are many people. Person number one does a small act of kindness for someone, and person number two sees that person doing it, so person number two also does a kind act for another person.  Person number three sees person number two doing it, so what does person number three do later? He or she also does a kind act. It’s a very interesting commercial.  Obviously, the kind acts accumulate. So, you may think what you are doing is very small but the impact it might have on another person may be much larger than you think.
 
Let’s take a look at another quote. This is comes from Dr. “Love” – that’s his nickname – Leo Buscaglia: “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” This man was a professor, an author and a very famous motivational speaker. Those words are so true.
 
How often have you not done something because you thought, “Ah! It’s too small. I’ll just wait until it gets bigger; then I’ll give it.”  The problem with that is it may be too late. The opportunity may no longer present itself. Perhaps your offering will be lost. So I would suggest if you have it in your heart and mind, don’t hesitate. Don’t worry or think how small it might be, because it will be appreciated. It will be valued by someone.
 
This is an experience I had last Tuesday and is an example of how something incredibly small and seemingly insignificant is so absolutely necessary. Last Tuesday I wanted to connect two items together: a notebook and a TV, down at the VIP cafe. In order to do that, of course, I needed the video cable, but for sound I needed the audio cable. You can go to Yongsan and buy it for 3000 won, but without it I was out of luck and really frustrated. I was running around trying to find a microphone and connect it. We got a microphone but it did not seem to work.  Finally, Mr. Cho came to my rescue and he brought the audio cable. This is a very simple thing, which we’ve all experienced! Something very small makes a huge difference whether or not something can work. We’ve all had that experience, right? Unfortunately, I was powerfully reminded last Tuesday.
 
I’d like to share with you a cute little story. This is probably a story that you’re all aware of: “The Lion and the Mouse.”  Who is familiar with that story? Ok, a lot of you are not familiar. Well, in this story, one day a lion is sleeping in the field and a mouse is running up and down the lion’s back. And the lion wakes up, very unhappy, grabs the mouse, and he is about to eat the mouse when the mouse says, “No! Don’t eat me. One day I might be able to help you.” “Ha!” roared the lion, “you, little mouse, help me? I don’t think so. But you made me laugh so I’ll let you go.”
 
What do you think happened? A few weeks later, the great lion was captured in a net. He couldn’t get out, even though he was very powerful and strong. Along came the mouse. The mouse saw his situation, chewed the rope with its sharp teeth and freed the lion. The mouse said to him, “You once laughed at me. You thought I was too little to do you a good turn but see, you owe your life to poor little mouse.”
 
Well, that story might sound somewhat far-fetched and you might be thinking, “Why is he telling us a children’s story?” But actually there is a really powerful lesson for us to learn there.  What is it? It’s not the size of the act or action that is important, but the difference that a small act or action can make.  Did you get that? One more time. It’s not the size of the act or action that is important but the difference that a small action or act can make. Has anyone here experienced that? A small act, maybe by someone not so significant or important, had a incredible impact on you or another person.
 
I’d like to share one more story before I close. This is a true story; it happened a few years ago at an airport. A group of men had been on a business trip and they were returning home, but they were behind schedule, they were late. In the airport they were in a huge rush, and one of the men accidentally knocked over an apple cart. A young woman was selling apples and the apples flew all over the floor.
 
All the men continued going because, as they looked at their watches, “Oh my Gosh! The airplane is leaving in ten minutes, we have to go!” But finally one man’s conscience was conflicted, and he thought, “I must go back and help.” So, he told his friends, “Please tell my wife I won’t be home for dinner tonight; I’ll be taking the later flight. Please let her know that.”
 
He went back to help this young lady who was 16 years old and she was blind. She could not see, and she was on the floor trying to find the apples, with tears coming down her cheeks because nobody stopped to help her. Everyone was in a hurry. The man who came back knelt down, collected the apples, put the cart back upright, and placed the apples back on the cart.  He noticed that many of the apples were battered and bruised, so he took them and set them aside. Then he took out his wallet and he gave the young lady $40 and he said, “I am so sorry for the accident. I hope this covers the expenses, and I hope you are alright.” She said, crying, “Yes, I am OK, I am OK. Thank you.” Then he said to her, “I hope we didn’t spoil your day too badly”, and he turned to leave.
 
Then the blind girl called out to him, “Mister!” The man paused, turned, and looked into the blind girl’s eyes, and she continued, “Are you Jesus?”  The man, with tears forming in his eyes, continued to walk to his airplane, thinking about what she had said, and continued thinking about that thought all the way home.
 
So, are you Jesus? Are you Rev. Moon? Are you Mrs. Moon? Am I Jesus? Am I Rev. Moon? What do I mean by that? That’s our destiny, isn’t it? To be so much like Jesus, so much like Rev. Moon, like Mrs. Moon, that people cannot tell the difference, as we live and interact in a world that is blind to their love, that are blind to their life, blind to their grace.
 
You know, we claim to know them, but we also should walk, live and act as they do, as they would. Knowing our True Parents is definitely more than just quoting our church Scriptures or coming to church. It’s actually living the word as our life unfolds day by day.
 
So, we should become such people, I should become such a person that when people see me, they might have the same question, when they see you they might have the same question, “Are you Jesus? Are you Mrs. Moon? Are you Rev. Moon?”
 
What kind of giver am I? What kind of giver are you? What kind of giver are we? What is our offering? What is our community’s offering?
 
In closing, what can we learn today? I think we can learn four things.  First: all offerings, however small, however seemingly insignificant, if made with the right heart, have great value, are greatly appreciated, and are greatly needed. Second: Be careful! To whom much is given, much is expected. Third: Do not hesitate to give, do not hesitate to offer. Do not wait until that offering might be larger, because you may not get another opportunity. Give when you can. And fourth: Become the kind of person of whom others will ask or at least think, “Wow! Is she Mrs. Moon? Is he Rev. Moon? Is he Jesus?”
 
Closing Prayer by Rev. Michael Brazil:
 
Join me in prayer please.
 
Our Heavenly Father, our Heavenly Mother, we thank You so much for the incredible love and guidance You give to us. Father, we are so sorry that so often we may not understand how valuable our giving is. Help us to truly become giving people – not out of duty or obligation, not out of compulsion, as we read in the World Scriptures today – but out of our hearts, out of our sincere desire to give, knowing that You are so excited and happy… knowing that as we give, we, the givers, are the ones who are blessed.
 
Father, today we heard a very simple message, but, I hope, a message that all, especially myself, can take to heart, strive to practice: that a small act of kindness may lead to amazing results; and that many small acts of kindness together, many small offerings put together can become a tidal wave of love, of service, that can transform a nation.
 
Our Heavenly Father, we thank You for the amazing messages that You have for us, for our True Parents, for the love and the truth that they have given to us. We pray that we can continue to understand and to receive, and that we can continue to offer to our True Parents a flawless offering that, when done with the right heart, can be seen in Your eyes as a large offering. We thank You so deeply, and we wish to offer all this to You. Bless the brothers and sisters from around the world, Aju.

Read the rest of this entry »


Rev. Hyung Jin Nim's Interesting Story

November 12, 2009

You know we always start with something just a little, a little interesting.  I heard this wonderful little story.

There was a story about a mom and she was reflecting on her two little boys. She said that, “Years ago when my two little boys were very small, they were taught how to say their blessings before eating their meal.

One night I was very busy scurrying around the kitchen, so I told them, ‘Hey! Boys, say your prayers before the meal without me’.” And then she took a moment to watch them as they both squeezed their eyes tightly, and folded their hands and began to pray.

The elder one, the 4 year old, finished very quickly, but the 3 year old kept on praying and praying. After about another minute or two passed, the 3 year old lifted his head, looked at his plate and was very angry. He said, “Hey! God did not take away my broccoli!” (Laughter)

Now you know what he prayed for, right?

Sermon: Making Victorious Teams / April 11, 2009

Read the rest of this entry »


Rev. Hyung Jin Nim's Prayer

November 12, 2009

Heavenly Father, thank You so much for this day that You have given to us Father. Father, we thank You for being able to be together here as brethren in communion with You, feeling Your spirit, feeling You being inspired by our song, by our joy, by our inspiration.
 
Father we know that You are a God that seeks to be in a give and receive relationship with Your children, not a God that sits high and mighty above us all, lonely and distant. But Father, You truly wish to be able to share Your selfless love with us.
Father, let us be able to inherit that true love, a love that is so powerful that it can overcome any enemy, any obstacle, any challenge, by natural surrender.
 
 Father, when we inherit that, we know that we will become greater blessings. We’ll become greater blessings to our families, we’ll become greater blessings to our communities, we’ll become greater blessings to this world, we’ll become greater blessings to You. We are so grateful for that opportunity.
 
Father, thank You so much for this time. We are praying for 2009. Even if we were down last week, Father, we know that we are still standing today, and we are facing this new week with a new hope, and, Father, a new spirit and a new strength, knowing that in this year where everybody tells us we’re going to fail, and everybody tells us we’re going to go and decrease, Father, You promised us we’re going to increase, Father, You promised us we will have more victory, Father, you promised us that we will have more peace in our hearts and be able to share that to this world.
 
Father we pray that we may be able to keep our eyes open and find those victories, find that peace that You are giving to us every single day. Father, we pray and offer all our gratitude to You for we know that we are here together as a team, and not only a team that is here for its own purpose, but truly to bring victory and glory to You.
 
We thank You so much. We thank You to be alive at this time, and we offer up all the glory with an everlasting love, and a tremendous gratitude. From the depth of our hearts, we pray in our names as central blessed families, Aju!

Sermon: Making Victorious Teams / April 11, 2009

Read the rest of this entry »


The Chosen One

November 10, 2009

October 24, 2009, HQ Church, Seoul, Korea

   And so I explained to him: “Look, when Jesus came he was persecuted, he was misunderstood and he was crucified since society did not believe and accept his mission as the Messiah. Jesus came and challenged them; he even judged the Pharisees and the Jews very strongly. In Matthew he called them a brood of vipers, really challenging and almost cursing them. Jesus really was a very controversial messianic figure. And we have to understand it is just like that with True Father. Also he has been severely misunderstood.”

Main Sermon:

Brothers and sisters, let’s move to our core Scriptures (1 Peter 2 : 4-5) “As you come to him, the living Stone –  rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to Him – you also like living stones are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Christ.” Aju.
 
Brothers and sisters, this is the reason why there is a lot of fear in the Christian community when they look at the Unification Church. Because they know that we are people of real faith, and we are people of very strong conviction. We are proud of what we believe and we declare what we believe. And because of that, our brothers and sisters have encountered tremendous persecution, even the violation of the human rights like in Japan, 4,400 members illegally kidnapped, raped, even murdered because of their faith. In a democratic state all this hate crime that has been perpetuated against the Unification Church, has been perpetuated because we are people of faith; because we know our democratic right to believe in our religion and to practice our religion, in the freedom of the religion clause that we enjoy in democratic nations. Because of that conviction, and because of that belief, we have
come under that kind of attack.
 
Remember that, as the Scripture says “As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to Him, ” we must remember that this is the key. As we return to our faith, as we study the Scriptures,  as we start the traditional Bible study again, as we study the Principle again, as we read again what we believe in, we again are affirming what we believe in. We’re not hiding what we believe in. We’re declaring that True Parents are the Messiah, the Coming Lord, Jesus Christ who has returned, the Son of God. Let’s give it up for True Parents, this is what we believe. It is our right to believe it, it is our right to practice our faith, and that’s why there is this kind of fear.
 
This was seen at the Blessing this time, over 14,000 participating worldwide all declaring our faith to the world. In the Blessing this time, we had that public declaration about faith, we declared before the whole world, all the internet broadcast were there. They all know what we believe, but this is the first time we declared it vocally, we declared our faith. Remember, we did many different activities under different names for the last 10-15 years, but still people see we are still being criticized for having underline the desire to witness and to share our faith. So if we’re going to do activities and being criticized for witnessing anyway we might as well be honest about it and share our faith. This is why we have to be proud of who we are.
 
Think about it, brothers and sisters, sharing our faith  is the purpose for which we are here, sharing True Parents’ mission and that the purpose of Jesus has to be fulfilled through them. This is what it is all about. Remember: “Sharing our faith”. It’s because somebody shared their faith we have entered into this church, because somebody was bold enough to declare what they believe, what they discovered in the Truth. That is the reason why many of our first generation members have come into the church. This is the same kind of confidence, and the same kind of pride that we need to start exhibiting once again and start believing. This is what society is beginning to see, when we go out and witness, when we go out and do service work on the street. We wear our Unification Church vest, Unification Church hat, and we declare, “We are the Unification Church and we do good works. We’re Unification Church, this is what we believe. We’re the Unification Church, this is what we declare.” We’re proud of it because it is our democratic right. This is very important to realize as a community living in a modern world.
 
They see it in the Cheong Bok Gung temple that now is going up. We’re returning back to faith, not only to political or social activities, we’re going back to our core, our faith, our belief, that gives us the root of our existence. They see in our teaching, in the Divine Principle,  that unlike any other tradition, we have a complete overview, an explanation of the movement of the Providential History, all the way from the Creation, in the Biblical text, from the Providences of Noah, Moses, Abraham and Jesus, all the way from the progress of Christianity to the modern world, the parallels of History. There is no other religion that offers this kind of comprehensive view of the Providence that God has been moving with humankind. Let’s give it up for the DP! This is very powerful!
 
And so, when they see us again regain a sense of confidence and pride in our faith, in what we believe, in what we have to offer, they become nervous. There is power in the Truth. There is power there when we declare what it is that we have discovered, that the Lord has come. The 2000 years of Christianity that has been waiting for the returning Lord; that is the thing that has power.

In the Scriptures, they say they offer sacrifices. Our church is finally doing this once again, offering spiritual sacrifices, offering devotion once again. We’re coming back to our faith once again. We’re studying the Bible once again. We’re studying the Principle once again. We’re coming and supporting our community once again. We’re becoming responsible members once again, we’re witnessing once again, we’re doing service work once again, and not only in different groups, we’re doing this as one community. They see these things moving together, actualizing the Truth, centered on the living stone, which is the core, which is True Parents. If they see us doing that then they feel there is something happening, they feel the movement of the miracle in motion. This is the thing that has power.
 
Brothers and sisters, let’s move on to the second scripture :
(1 Peter 2: 9) “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
(1 Peter 2: 10)”Once you were not a people but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
 
This time, when True Parents were returning to the States, at Gimpo airport we met the airport manager and had a wonderful conversation with him. I told him: “Look, we believe very clearly that True Parents are the Messiah. As it says in the Scriptures, ‘He will come as a thief in the night’. He will not come in glory and splendor in the clouds; he’s going to come very quietly, just like Christ came in a manger. He’s going to come quietly unnoticed to the world. The Messiah is coming to challenge us. He’s not coming to make us feel good with his good words. He’s here to challenge us. As the scriptures say, in Matthew 10:34, ‘I do not come to bring peace, I come to bring the sword,’ to challenge the people here.
 
When we see Father, then we see that same challenge. Father doesn’t speak as we might think how a Messiah should speak, for instance like the Dalai Lama or Mother Teresa. He is strong and passionate. He talks about filial relationships, or about husband and wife relationships and all sorts of things that would be quite shocking to some people. But we understand that the Messiah is quite a test to our faith. The chosen one comes to challenge the world, not to just please the world. He comes to move us to a higher level. Is it really that crazy that we believe that True Father is the Messiah? Is it really that crazy that we believe that a Korean person could be the Messiah? Well, if it is crazy then it is AS crazy, not MORE crazy, than the millions of people who believe that Jesus, a Middle Eastern man, was actually the living God who created the universe. Or that an Indian man named Siddhartha would come and overcome life and death by spiritual attainment. Or that an Arab man named Mohammed would receive the word of God and write it down even though he was illiterate. So, if we think that our belief that the Messiah has returned to Korea is crazy, then we also have to believe that all of the billions of believers of other religions around the world are equally crazy. And I don’t think you want to go that far. Let’s give it up to the UC!
 
You see, we have to remember that the prophets were all misunderstood. Remember when Noah was alive there were people who called him a drunkard. When Abraham was alive people said he had several wives. When Moses was alive they called him a murderer because he killed the Egyptian man when he left Egypt on the Exodus. Jesus was (seen as) a social rebel. When Pilate asked him: “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered: “It is as you said”. He was declaring himself to be a King in the face of an emperor, even in the face of the local governor Pilate who was representing that emperor.
 
So, prophets are always misunderstood. They never act in a way that the whole society would say: “Oh, they are so wonderful. They act so nicely in everything. They are floating around as perfect images of the ideal person and society.” No, prophets have always been the challengers of society and the challengers of faith. And this is what True Father is when we see and understand True Parents in this prophetic light. We see that there is no difference in the treatment toward the True Parents and the followers, the apostles and brothers and sisters all around the world who follow and testify to the Lord.
 
And so, brothers and sisters, I told the airport manager: “Look, because the Unification Church is here in Korea, every year we send over 120,000 people from around the world to come here to Korea; 120,000 people, every year!” As a person who works at the airport he loved to hear that. He really loved that. And I said, “Look, what other religion here in Korea, from the biggest to the smallest church, can bring over 120,000 members every year to Korea? For instance, can, the Full Gospel Church with over 600,000 registered members do that? There is no religious organization in Korea who can bring this many people to this land. Why? This is because we believe this land to be a Holy Land. We don’t see this land as just one of those nations sitting in the Pacific Rim. We see this land of Korea as a Holy Land.”

So I talked to him just the way Kook Jin Nim always does when he meets high officials. He went recently to the Blue House and had a wonderful lunch with the President’s Assistant. He said, “My Father is the Messiah, Mr. President’s Assistant! (applause). And you should know that we have sent over 120,000 people to Korea every year. And as the Unification Church grows every year, even more people will want to come to Korea, because we see Korea as a very sacred land. That of course does not mean that every person in Korea is perfect. We all know that this is not the case, but we believe that the Korean land is sacred, that it is prepared so that True Parents could come here. And that is the reason why Korea is very special.”
 
There are many predictions that economists make that Korea will become one of the economic powers because it has certain types of attributes. It has, for instance, a fully operating democratic system unlike Japan, which doesn’t have frequent changes between Republicans and Democratic parties. In East Asia Korea is unique in the sense that it does have a fully operating democratic system as well as having a group of professionals that are now being internationally recognized. Samsung is now dominating the hand phone market in America, etc. There are many people who are predicting that Korea will become a  major global leader in about 50 years. And it is true that these kinds of social foundations such as education, etc., will become very important in order for Korea to develop. But without the spirit and understanding of its central role and purpose in the great scheme of the hundreds of countries in the world, without understanding its importance which can only be found in the teachings of the Unification Church – because we see this land as a Holy Land – Korea won’t be able to reach the level necessary to truly reap the blessings that God has been waiting to give. Let’s give it up to the Unification Teaching!
 
I asked the airport manager to name any religion in Korea that had begun in Korea and that has now become a worldwide movement – a worldwide religion. There is not one. Only the Unification Church has come out of Korea in the lifetime of its founder and has been able to spread to become a worldwide religion with millions of followers around the world. And this is because we see True Parents’ role as essential to the whole historical providence. See brothers and sisters, I told him, now is the time for us as Korean people to really be more proud. He is a Korean individual who works at the airport and I said: “It’s now time for us to be proud, to get rid of our bias. Why can’t we believe that the Messiah comes in the Korean nation? Is it really more crazy than believing in Jesus as a Middle Eastern man? It’s not more crazy. If it is crazy then it is AS crazy. But it is our belief that Korea is the Chosen Land.”

And so I explained to him: “Look, when Jesus came he was persecuted, he was misunderstood and he was crucified since society did not believe and accept his mission as the Messiah. Jesus came and challenged them; he even judged the Pharisees and the Jews very strongly. In Matthew he called them a brood of vipers, really challenging and almost cursing them. Jesus really was a very controversial messianic figure. And we have to understand it is just like that with True Father. Also he has been severely misunderstood.”

When you hear the criticisms against Unification Church saying that it is heretical, that it brainwashes and all these things, there is really no substance to that claim. It is simply name calling, it is simply a development of a hate language toward our community of faith. And this hate language has developed into the hate crimes against our Unification Movement for example in Japan, where members have been illegally abducted as you all know.

Brothers and sisters, that is the reason why it is important for us to reclaim our faith, to be proud of what we believe and to know that it is our right to believe so. You see, it is our True Parents who have come to fulfill the mission of Jesus. Jesus died and was resurrected to show the power of God’s love as he had explained in John 15:13 that there is no greater love than he who lays down his life for his friends. Just like Jesus, True Parents laid down their lives for their children and the world. Not only once, but twice, thrice… even seven times they have walked the path of death, descending into hell. They did this so that they could free their children, so that they may reach the Promised Land. And this is the type of heart that we believe Jesus was to inherit: the parental heart of God, the parental heart that would seek and willingly die for the children over and over again, so that the children could live a life of glory.
 
Brothers and sisters, when we understand this point, then we can understand why this kind of hate language is being spoken by the media, why there are movements that are scared about the Unification Church, why they feel they have to be re-educating people and that the Unification Church is being led by false prophets. But we have to understand that as Jesus was considered a false prophet in his days and as Moses was considered a false prophet in his days, that all those prophets were considered false prophets. So, when we understand True Father’s coming in this role, challenging Christianity to come and receive what God has prepared for them, then we can actually see that it is a normal development that people say that this is a false prophet leading this movement.
 
Brothers and sisters, when we understand that there are these kinds of realities in our midst, we have to recognize the fact that there are really organizations geared toward opposing Unification Church, although I heard they are financially struggling. However, there are those kinds of organizations that are seeking to slander the Unification Church. Therefore we have to be clear about what we believe. That is why it is important for us to declare our faith. That is why it is important for us to stand up for our faith, so that we will be no longer the victims of such hate crimes in this democratic part of the world. Let’s give it up for democracy for it is because of democracy that we have religious freedom!
 
Now let’s end with our final quote from 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart… On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly, we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Let’s give it up for our True Parents, brothers and sisters!
 
I want to end with True Father’s words before we enter into our final meditation practice.
True Father’s Words Vol. 90:    (The Page number is covered on the screen by the Principle symbol) “Because the work of God is realistic and physical, the Messiah’s coming on the clouds does not make sense. Yet interpreting the Bible literally many Christians think “Jesus will descend on the clouds! It will be done by God’s power!” If that were true, if God could use supernatural power to do anything, then why did He need to send Jesus? Why would He call people to faith? In that case God could simply create the Kingdom by Himself, without waiting for human beings to respond in faith… Yet we know that even the omniscient and omnipotent God has been laboring for six thousand years and even longer to advance His providence of salvation without being able to send the [returning] Messiah until today… Many Christians think that the Messiah will solve all the world’s problems in an instant. They do not understand that when the Christ returns he will have to plough the ground and sow the seeds again.” Aju!
 
Final Meditation:
 
 Let us close our eyes and return back to our resurrected homeland. The land which was once desert is now filled with bubbling springs. The parched, dry, barren and thirsty ground has turned into lush vegetation. Streams overflow and we are walking in a beautiful meadow that has been resurrected. As we walk in this meadow field, we notice to our left a beautiful stream meandering down. We hear the sounds of that stream, the sounds of resurrection, of life and rebirth. As we walk ahead, we notice that with each step we take, beautiful flowers are blooming almost miraculously around our feet. We also notice that when we look up at the sky, that what was before a fiery red is now a crystal clear blue with beautiful light shining down upon us. As we look ahead we see True Parents in their holy robes waiting for us. Let us go and kneel down before them. True Father with his right hand and True Mother with her left hand, place their holy hands on top of our head, and they anoint us with their blessing as they speak and say, “May you inherit the True Love of God!” As we receive that blessing we feel a wave of energy passing through our body from the top of our head all the way down to our feet. We feel that as it passes through each and every cell of our body that we are being resurrected.

All the dead and sick cells are being brought back to life, healthy and completely nourished. As we realize that our spirit body had elements of shadow in it we can see that it now has become resurrected and is starting to shine with boundless light in all 12 directions.
As we breathe in deeply, in our hearts let us say, “I am alive” and as we breathe out, let us say in our hearts, “Thank You!” Second breath, as we breathe in deeply, “My family is alive!” And as we breathe out, “Thank You so much!” As we breathe in the third breath, “My world is alive!” And as we breathe out, “Thank You!” Final inhalation, as we breathe in, “My God, You are alive!” And as we breathe out, “Thank You!” God and True Parents have blessed us with the blessed life. It is a life where we may inherit the True Love of God, where we inherit the truly heroic parental heart and through that can become greater spouses, greater families of man and women, greater people of the community, greater people of the nations, world, cosmos, spiritual world and of God.

Let us join our hands and manifest the Principle of all the universe: Give and Receive Action of all things, Four Position Foundation, coming together. May I inherit the True Love of God.  Aju!
 

Read the rest of this entry »