Fruitful Life @ Trinity
John 18:33–37 (Proper 29 - Christ the King) Stewardship of the Kingdom
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        World Communion Sunday Combined Worship

        October 7, 2018 - 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
        Mark your calendar and come celebrate the World Communion Sunday with other worshiping communities at the First Presbyterian Church. It's a special day of worship in different language and unique service arrangements.
  • Morning has broken
  • Morning has broken
      • Galatians 5:22–23NRSV

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        World Communion Sunday Combined Worship Service

        October 7, 2018 - 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
        All four worshiping communities will gather for a combined worship service at the First Presbyterian Church's main sanctuary at 10am - 11am.
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        Myanmar Mission

        October 13, 2018 - 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
      • Psalm 1NRSV

      • Mark 9:30–37NRSV

  • Developing Divine Mindset #2

    Most Asian students are taught to be quiet in the classroom and not encouraged to ask questions. It is deemed impolite to ask questions to the teacher. When I was in college in Burma, we had two foreign professors—one from the U.S. and another from U.K. It was the first time we had foreign professors in decades. We frustrated them by our silence in the classroom because they expected questions and interactions with them, but we were too “polite” to do that.
    One day, one of the professors joked about our learning style. He said, “You Burmese students are extremely smart. I have taught classes in many countries, and you guys are the smartest. Every time I asked you, ‘Do you understand?’ You said, ‘Yes, we do.’ Every time I asked, ‘Do you have any questions?’ You answered, ‘No, sir.’ So, it must be either I am such a good teacher that teaches so well that you can understand easily, which I am sure it’s not the case. So, you guys are so smart that you are able to understand everything I say. It makes my job very easy.”
    We see a similar situation in this passage.
    Mark 9:32 NRSV
    But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.
    This time Jesus did not teach the disciples in the field. He took them to a place where no one knew that he was there so that he could focus on teaching them privately. It was the best opportunity for them to ask question in this very important subject, but they didn’t. Mark 9:31 says,
    Mark 9:31 NRSV
    for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.”
    Jesus had mentioned this a couple of times previously and he knew that they did not get it. Maybe that’s why he taught them privately without being surrounded by the usual hustle and bustle of the crowd that came to see the miracles and asked for healing.
    However, this time they were quiet like typical Asian students that were afraid of asking questions. They did not understand what Jesus was talking about because it came out of left field. They followed this rabbi thinking that he was the Messiah, the coming king of the Jews and the savior of the world. They thought he would use his divine power to break the yoke of the Roman Empire and establish a new, independent, and free kingdom. However, he is now talking about his death. It just doesn’t make sense. Who wants to follow someone who is going to die soon?
    He also talked about resurrection. That was very farfetched for them to comprehend. They did not understand, and they dared not ask.
    Maybe Jesus did not expect them to understand it either. The Bible says, many of Jesus’ teaching came to light only after his resurrection. In any case, they should have pursued the understanding at this private tutoring event.
    Now, as people who live on this side of resurrection, do we understand Jesus better than the disciples at all? Do we just accept his death and resurrection as facts because it’s in the Bible, and we dare not question him even though we still don’t fully understand?
    Sometimes, people told me that they don’t believe in the resurrection. Maybe, like the disciples, they just don’t understand how it could happen because it’s against nature and science. Doubt and confusion are not a problem unless we stay quiet and fail to examine the case by asking questions, studying the scriptures, and pray for the blessing of enlightenment.
    If you doubt and stay quiet, you pay the price of not developing the divine mindset. Unless we think like God thinks, we will fail to understand a lot of things that are going on in this wild-wild world.

    The Price of Not Understanding the Divine Mind

    The disciples continued on their journey without understanding Jesus’ divine plan. On the road they began to argue with one another who was the greatest of all. Peter, James, and John must be thinking that they were handpicked by Jesus to go with him to the mount of Transfiguration and had the opportunity to peek into the eternity. They must feel very special and proud of themselves for the opportunity. As a result, they must think the three of them were greater disciples among the twelve.
    Maybe they argued about even among the top three that there must be one that is the greatest. Peter might think he was the greatest of all since he appointed himself as the speaker of the house.
    At least from this lesson, we can say that the most obvious sign of not having a divine mind is getting into argument on who ranks higher and who knows better. How often do you get into argument with your family or friends? Let me tell you a secret, at that moment if you remember what Jesus did on the cross, you will stop arguing. I will explain.
    Jesus used that opportunity to teach them the lesson in a simpler way. Knowing that they didn’t understand the teaching of his dead and resurrection, Jesus used a memorable statement and a vivid object lesson to teach them the lesson.
    The Bible says,
    Mark 9:35–37 NRSV
    He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”
    What does it mean here? The first must be last, the servant of all, and welcoming a child in his name? What it means is that you must be considerate to those who are less fortunate, less gifted, and less mature. Maybe Peter, James, and John were favored by Jesus for their gifts, talents, and maturity. But, Jesus want them to understand that they should not look down on those who are less given but lower themselves to meet them there.
    If you are a college student, will it be smart for you to argue with a kindergartner about who is greater? If you sit down with a kindergartner, you would speak with him or her at the language he or she understands. In fact, it’s fun to talk with a little kid at their level. They are such cuties, aren’t they? But, we are not so kind with adults with less gifts, are we?
    The ancient Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi wrote about a man who came to the sage complaining about his brother saying, “I want to kill brother because he keeps offending me.” The sage asked him, “Are you the young man who was chased by wolves the other night, and you climbed up a tree and stay up there the entire night until the wolves went away the next morning?”
    He said, “Yes, sir, I’m the one.” The sage then said, “I wonder why I haven’t heard you complaining about the wolves that almost kill you.” The story ends there.
    The point of the story is that sometimes we tolerate and accommodate the animals more than we do to our own brothers and sisters. Why do we tolerate the animals more than human beings? It’s because we consider them less endowed than us in wisdom and understanding.
    Be kind to those who are less endowed—physically, mentally, or spiritually. Welcome them at their level. In fact, Jesus wants us to lower ourselves to an even lower level than theirs, and be the servant of all. If you can do that, in Jesus’ eyes, you have shown yourself a greater person then them.
    How does it have to do with understanding the cross—the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If they understood the cross, they wouldn’t have been arguing like this. If we understand the cross, a lot of arguments, violence, and wars in our society will stop.
    The cross tells us that Jesus didn’t show that he is greater than us by arguing with us, even though he is much greater. He showed his greatness by lower himself to our level, and even lower.

    The Cross is the Reminder of Human Status

    The cross show how low the human status is. The cross is a killing machine to kill a human being with the longest suffering and deepest pain. We don’t use a cross to punish people today, but it doesn’t mean we are less evil because we use different ways to crucify people, making people suffer deep and long.
    The cross is symbolic of human cruelty. I have not been physically crucified, obviously I’m still alive, but I have been emotionally crucified by people who just used a word to make you suffer long and deep. It doesn’t mean I haven’t done so to others, but we must be aware of our own evil capability. Our tongues can be as dangerous as the cross as a killing machine.
    The cross represents how low we are. The cross shows that we may be worse than animals because animals cannot construct crosses to kill each other or produce words to make others suffer.
    If Jesus were like us he would have destroyed us all with his mighty divine power. Instead, he went to the cross to show us that he is the servant of all in spite of the fact that he is a greater being.

    The Benefit of Having the Divine Mind

    There are innumerable benefits of having the divine mind, but I just want to emphasize one thing today. After the resurrection of Jesus Christ, they began to understand how God thinks. That changed everything. This small group of twelve simple people turned the world upside down. They changed history. I don’t have to tell you their impact.
    For the first 300 years, Christianity grew like wild fire in spite of the fierce persecution. They didn’t have a church building during that time.
    Today, as you understand the cross and you will change history. We are in nowhere today, but we can be everywhere. Do you know that the word nowhere can be now here, depending on where you break the word? We are kicking off what we call the Operation Omnipresence so that everyone of us will be the servant of all like our Lord and extend his kingdom that has no end. Amen!
      • Mark 9:32NRSV

      • Mark 9:31NRSV

      • Mark 9:35–37NRSV

  • Fairest Lord Jesus
  • Here I am, Lord

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