Series: Vision 2022
Theme: Part of this Vision
Bible Reading: Joel 2:28-32, Acts 16:6-17
Preacher: Rev Kevin Kim
Date: 20 February, 2022
Kevin, our new addition to our ministry team has a unique perspective being able to reflect on our Vision in a fresh way. In this sermon Kevin will not only share his plans and dreams on how we can bring Gods visions into reality, he will also help us to see that we are all part of this Vision. We are all in this. Don’t miss Kevin’s sharing and encouragement and hear that challenge that every single member of TUC is called to achieve our visions.
A minister parked his car in a no parking zone in a large city, because he was short of time and couldn’t find a space with a meter machine. So he put a note under the windshield wiper that read: “I have circled the block 10 times. If I don’t park here, I’ll miss my appointment. FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES.”
When he returned, he found a citation from a police officer along with this note: “I’ve circled this block for 10 years. If I don’t give you a ticket, I’ll lose my job. LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION.”
When I first heard that we have ‘Vision Sunday’ every year, I thought that was a great thing. As we can be being led into temptation, it is important to have Vision Sunday every year. We can be tempted to believe that what we do is all ok and good. Yes, what we are doing here at TUC is ok and I think we are doing very well in many parts of our ministry. But we want and can do better to live faithfully to God’s call. As Phil said last week, the churches who have a clear picture of where they feel God is leading them are churches with a higher sense of purpose, participation and ownership.
In our second Bible reading, St. Paul had a vision during the night. Paul and his team’s attempted move to Asia Minor were twice blocked by the Holy Spirit. Paul’s team did not know where to head. They had no idea why these things were happening. On that night Paul had a vision, and in that vision Paul saw that man of Macedonia ask him to come over there and help them. All of sudden, their itinerary changed. Their twice attempt to go to Asia was redirected to Europe by this vision and the lead of the Spirit. Later many European historians said this changed direction and itinerary of Paul’s mission team have changed the future of Asia and Europe. According to those historians, if Paul and his friends headed to Asia as they initially intended, Asia would have received the gospel message much earlier and could have achieved the modernization and industrialization much earlier than Europe. Then, the world history would have been very different by now. Following ‘vision’ really can change a future. The values and goals were outlined on Vision Sunday can change our future as well.
Invest some time into refining and renewing Our Vision …
I am inviting everyone again to participate in the National Church Life Survey. You still have two more days to complete. This data will be important for our mission planning in April&May to have newly refined and renewed Vision.
Continue focus on growing Young.
For this process, I am also asking you to take the Growing Young questionnaire. In order to run ‘Growing Young’ program sometime after Easter, we need your input, so please complete this survey at the website before Tuesday.
Embrace being a lighthouse church and good neighbour.
I hope you now are familiar with ‘Community Asset Mapping’. Couple of people approached me over the last few weeks and suggested some helpful ideas on how we might start this process.
Last Sunday, Margaret knows a lot at her kids talk reminded us that we are all living at different suburbs. In fact, our lighthouse church vision is all about looking beyond from where we live. For our vision to be a lighthouse church and good neighbour, it would be fantastic if we could form different group depending on where we live, like we joined the experiment of ‘Margaret knows a lot’. We could come up with each different team and develop your local community asset mapping to see key places and people for a future partnership. Each group can gather for prayer walk in your own streets and discern what God has started in your own neighbourhood. That is an exciting plan, and that simple but profound step can really bring a positive change to your streets and neighbourhood.
For better community engagement, I shared a little bit about my plan and dream to start ‘community choir’. Here are some photos from my former church’s community choir. Like we have a huge event here on Christmas, my former church had Christmas event on very busy Oxford Street mall near Bondi Junction station with other local churches, and our choir performed songs and part of that event. Choir involved the church’s special services like ‘mother’s day service’ ‘father’s day service’ ‘Christmas in July’ service and performed songs for each special theme service. I hope this new choir that I plan to start won’t be like any other choirs. We have a special God given mission. We provide a space to connect with our neighbours through singing the Christian and popular secular songs. The choir will perform at our different church events. Some musical workshop and dinner will be arranged with a guest speaker who can talk about music and Christianity for the choir members. Our choir will have an opportunity to perform at local nursing homes and community event.
I think these are good plans and we all hope we can make these goals to life. For us to keep moving forward, Church Council and ministry team and all of us should commit to working towards achieving the goals. “We” have to do it together. “We” are all in this.
One very distinctive way of speech of Korean language is the usage of ‘our’. In Korean language, when you mention your wife, you say ‘our’ wife, rather not ‘my’ wife. You do say ‘my’ wife in some context. But in most circumstances, you call your wife as ‘our’ wife. This rule applies to all different cases. ‘Our’ father, ‘our’ church, ‘our’ God, ‘our’ brother. It is very interesting. As all of ancient Korean community members were close and they shared everything, all the belongings and even private relationship in a family were related with over the boundary of immediate family members. And so called, ‘we’ passage does significant function in our Acts reading. Paul and his party had been called ‘they’, as third person plural. Up until this chapter 16, the author has recorded this narrative from rather subjective point of view with ‘they’ and ‘them’. The author was not in the story, rather looking the movements of the characters as narrating them as ‘they’. Now Paul’s missionary team, which is made of ‘Paul, Silas, and Timothy’ become ‘we’ in verse 10. (Screen)
From this point, narrator of this text is not only as a reporter but as the personal participant in journey. These so called ‘we’ passages appear four times in Acts, in chapter 16, 20, 21 and 27. Traditionally, it was suggested that these ‘we’ passages shows the author of the story was together with Paul’s journey physically. In other words, the narrator was present in the story itself.
For ourselves, for us readers of the story, these ‘we’ passage brings us into the story and enables us personally become engaged with Paul’s missionary journey. As in Korean language my mother is called as ‘our’ mother, this exciting story of Paul and his team’s adventurous trip is not something we only read from the Bible. As we become part of ‘we’ in the story, we may feel that we are on the road and we are on the move with Paul and Silas. The plan of God in Acts is to include all of us into the journey of mission. So this is not only their story or story happened long long time ago. This is our story, this is the story we have involved and we will continue to be part and develop.
Our vision is also like that. The goals and values outlined last week and today are ours. That’s our calling. That has to be our experience and commitment for 2022. Otherwise, they are their visions and their stories. We are just watching their adventure and journey.
We all want to see the visions of prophet Joel fulfilled in our lives. We want to see our children and grandchild prophesy. We want to see our elderly men and women dream dreams. We want to see our young people see their new visions with the outpouring of the Spirit of God.
the spirit still renews us, challenge us, and help us dream new dreams and visions. Amen.