December 20, 2012

[He Loved Us with a Cross] - Paul Sungro Lee

PREFACE

Today I would like to share with you what I believe will be a life-changing message of hope and love for us. Around 5 B.C., a historical figure named Jesus Bar Joseph (meaning son of Joseph) is recorded born in Bethlehem, Israel. This man lived highly influential and moral life thus made him to have billions of followers so far in the history. It is also known that this Jesus died by crucifixion, a notoriously cruel execution method during his time.


CROSS


Over the centuries the reality of a cross has been somehow beautified and degenerated. Many today hardly can grasp what the cross and crucifixion were really like, for in most parts of the world this brutal punishment has been abolished for good. The purpose of crucifixion was to provide a particularly painful, gruesome and public death. Crucifixion was considered a horrible way to die. The nicest form a person could be executed in Roman empire was the beheading and the cruelest form was the crucifixion. A common prelude was scourging, which would cause the victim to lose a large amount of blood and approach a state of shock. The prisoner then usually had to carry the horizontal beam to the place of execution, not necessarily the whole cross, often through a town center to receive all the embarrassments and mockings of neighbors. Crucifixion was typically carried out by specialized teams, consisting of a commanding centurion and four soldiers, who were anatomical experts. The victim was usually stripped naked (including the undergarments). The "nails" were tapered iron spikes approximately 5 to 7 inch (13 to 18 cm) long with a square shaft 3/8 inch (1 cm) across. In popular depictions of crucifixion, the victim is shown supported only by nails driven straight through the feet and the palms of the hands. However, scientifically speaking, the flesh of the hands cannot possibly support the victim's body weight. An idea of having ropes around the victim's arms was also generally not the case. Therefore, the nails were most likely inserted just above the wrist, between the two bones of the forearm (the radius and the ulna), or could also be driven through the wrist, in a space between four carpal bones (As some historians have suggested, the Gospel words in the Bible that are translated as "hands" may have in fact included everything below the mid-forearm.). Death could come in hours or days, depending on the health of those crucified and environmental circumstances. One theory holds that the typical cause of death was asphyxiation. When the whole body weight was supported by the stretched arms, the victim would have severe difficulty exhaling, due to hyper-expansion of the lungs. The victim would therefore have to draw himself up by his arms, or have his feet supported by a wood block. Indeed, Roman executioners were said to break the victim's legs, after he had hung for some time, in order to hasten his death. Once deprived of support and unable to lift himself, the victim would die within a few minutes (Refer to John 19:31-32). If death did not come from asphyxiation, it could result from a number of other causes, including physical shock, dehydration and exhaustion. In fact, crucifixion was only an arbitrary subset of a much wider continuous spectrum of slow and painful execution methods, which often included exposure to wild beasts and birds eating up the victim's legs and eyes while hung on a cross. However, the unusual rapidity of Jesus' death (Refer to John 19:33) was due to his previous sufferings and his great mental anguish. Jesus died in just about 6 hours (9:00 am - 3:00 pm). He literally died of a broken heart, a ruptured heart, and hence the flowing of blood and water from the wound made by the soldier's spear (Refer to John 19:34).



CALL

The question is then, why did Jesus die in such a horrible manner of death? Human ideas and records have very little clues as to why this exceptionally good man had to die by such a cruel crucifixion except the reason of jealousy from the people around him. However, the Bible states much clearer clues as the reason of Jesus' death. The Bible puts it this way in order to provide the answer to this centuries-old question, which the history has constantly tried to answer it otherwise.


The Bible says in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son (TO DIE FOR US), that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life". In other words, Jesus took our punishment and offered us remission of our sins (Refer to 2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus took our sickness and pain and offered us healing and health (Refer 1 Peter 2:24, Matthew 8:17). Jesus took our sin and offered us his righteousness (Refer to 2 Corinthians 5:21 again). Jesus took our (spiritual) death and offered us his (spiritual) life (Refer to Romans 6:23). Jesus took our poverty and offered us abundance (Refer to 2 Corinthians 8:9). Jesus took our shame and offered us acceptance in God's family (Refer to Hebrews 12:2). Jesus took our rejection and offered us a share of his glory (Refer to Matthew 27:46). Also, Jesus redeemed us from the curse and offered us blessings (Refer to Galatians 3:13-14). Conclusively speaking, Jesus suffered and died for us to be made complete!

One day when my son was sick I wished if there is any way I could be sick instead of him I would be willing to take his place, but I could not. When God saw the sins and misery of the world, He was willing to take our place and, unlike you and me, He was able to do so Him being the almighty God. So He became a man, died on our place and took away our sins and misery. The Bible states that is why Jesus died on a horrible cross, while he was all together innocent.


Billions of both learned and unlearned, both rich and poor, both men and women, both Jew and non-Jews, and many more in the history have decided to believe the reason which the Bible points out as the reason of Jesus' death, and they have lived and died content with it.


CHANGE


I have tried different religions of the world in past, including Buddhism, Islam and shamanistic Confucianism, which most of them I was deeply involved with their religious practices, only to result in greater disappointments and frustrations. While years of searches for the existence and identification of God, I was told a sentence of a word which changed the course of my life: "JESUS DIED FOR YOU!" Indeed, it puzzled me to the point to wonder why this stranger who lived almost 2000 years ago would die for me when no other religious figures dare to say that they died for me. After researching extensively on the life of Jesus and the way he died on the cross, I could not help but begin to think that if this innocent man died in such a terrible manner of crucifixion he might have died for a reason. Not long after this, I realized that it was for me and my sins that Jesus Christ died. I invited him into my life and since then he changed everything about me. And I'm happy that I made that decision.


When I did not even know him nor I could imagine what loving me would cost to him, Jesus went to Calvary and loved me with a cross. And if it had not been for Jesus and the way he loved me then, I would still be lost in the endless searches for happiness and how worthy my life is. But years ago when my Creator met me in person, he showed what my life and I were worthy of. I realized that I was worthy of the cost of the life of God's Son.


CHALLENGE


Our lives have genuine meanings only when they are saturated by the love Jesus showed us with his death on a cross. Therefore, if you have never met Jesus in your heart, simply talk to God at this moment - even if this may be the very first time you pray in your life - to come and meet you in a very personal way. If you have already met him and are following him as the Lord of your life, this message of the cross will give you power in your day-to-day life, no matter how tough and hard your situation may be.


However, Christ challenges us even further. He says in Luke 9:23, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." and in Luke 14:27, "Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple."


One sad statistic made on the State of the Church in U.S. reports that in a nationwide survey among born-again adults, none of the individuals interviewed said that the single, most important goal in their life was to be a committed "follower" of Jesus Christ. This tells us how ignorant many of us are about the love of God. The greatest expression of God's love for us is the CROSS!


Then, what does it mean by taking up our cross daily? Love of the parents is a very precious thing and it has won the admiration of many people throughout the history. Indeed, most parents would give birth to their children at the cost of pain and raise them in a sacrificial way. But most of us begin to "understand" and to truly appreciate that great love of our own parents only when we would become parents ourselves. In fact, it is the same with our spiritual life. We begin to understand the love of God in greater depths only when we would minister to others and try to follow God's call in our lives. The Bible calls this effort as "carrying our own crosses" (Refer to Luke 9:23, Luke 14:27). When our hearts may be pierced with nails of disappointment, discouragement and even false accusation, while we are trying to win and raise others for Christ, many of us would better comprehend what it really means when God says that HE LOVES US.


It also means that as Christ faithfully guarded his call to die for the world's sin by choosing to work as a carpenter, who would see the timbers, nails and a hammer everyday - the very materials by which he will die later on - we are called to live for our call with all our heart and might everyday! Therefore, dear ladies and gentlemen, and brothers and sisters, let us follow him each day with our crosses.



"FOR CHRIST'S LOVE COMPELLS US … " (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)


"FOR THE MESSAGE OF THE CROSS IS … TO US WHO ARE BEING SAVED IT IS THE POWER OF GOD." (1 Corinthians 1:18)

Jesus Christ loved you with great suffering and death on the cross. Christ's love for you is "as strong as death" (Song of Songs 8:6) and "many waters cannot quench that love" (Song of Songs 8:7). So come get closer to Jesus now. You will find God's power for you to live each day in the love Jesus showed to you and me with a cross.

September 8, 2012

[EAPTC Update] – September 2012

Dear a Friend of EAPTC,

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This gospel is bearing fruit and growing (Col. 1:6)
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Over the years, Evangelical Alliance for Preacher Training/Commission (EAPTC) has grown to be a non-denominational, faith-based international organization. Triggered by my missionary commission to Africa, it was founded by a group of mission-minded church leaders in 1996 to assist indigenous churches in meeting the spiritual and physical needs of people in their communities. Therefore, EAPTC’s strategy has been to build a working relationship with the local churches and church leaders in the nations of Africa and beyond. By empowering indigenous leaders, we believed we could build relationships with the local churches to create a lasting foundation for sharing the gospel and to bring a positive social change to manifest God’s kingdom on earth.

EAPTC mission has been expanding through its unique multiplication methodology of cross-cultural discipleship. If you have not had a chance to see the chart of EAPTC-Africa’s multiplicative growth, here it is. This multiplication family tree of EAPTC-Africa was originally drawn out by Pastor Hamon Kim who visited Africa with us 6 times in past, and it was later modified into a handy format. It shows how God has been blessing the work for years through the biblical multiplication of discipleship and church planting. On the top of major axes of leadership training, church planting, and children ministry, EAPTC presently operates additional ministries like film evangelism, nursery schools, literature production, microfinance banking projects, radio broadcasts and orphanage in some countries where it works.

Nursery school in Lilongwe, Malawi is gaining the confidence of the community with its low-cost quality education for local children. They had a Parents Day on June 29 and witnessed many parents’ appreciation regarding their work with over 30 children. Thanks to your prayers that an exciting addition of sharpened gospel workers has been made to God’s army on August 5 through Lilongwe Bible school graduation. Our congratulations and best wishes to those graduates and lecturers who worked hard to make that day possible! We had another joyous occasion of p worked hard to make this day possibleastoral ordination in Funyula, Kenya on August 18. Revs. Cletus Tukai and Nicholas Alalia presided over this event. We thank God for continuous move of the Holy Spirit in Africa through our faithful indigenous leaders who are making Africa a better place even this day.

I’ll be in Washington DC area from September 29 to October 11 to meet and to minister to a number of ministry friends and supporting churches. If you’re in the area, I look forward to seeing you there.

If you’re still not connected with us through Social Networking Service (SNS), kindly do so. We’re trying to update missions news to our friends and supporters through SNS as well. That way, you’d not miss any of important missions updates as we keep standing together for the souls of Africa and beyond!

Yours joyfully in His service,

Paul Lee (& Eunice Jaeun)
September 8, 2012

September 6, 2012

[EAPTC선교회] 뉴스레터 – 2012년 9월

랑하는 선교의 동역자님께,

님의 평안을 기원합니다.

엇보다 먼저, 불경기속에서도 아프리카 선교를 위해 기도해주시고 후원해주시는 것에 대해 감사를 드립니다. 얼마전 어느 분야에서 나름대로 정상에 오른 분의 강의 내용을 들은 적이 있습니다. 어떤 일이든지 15년을 해봐야 그일에 관한한 전문가가 된다는 그분의 주장이었습니다. 말에 전적으로 동의하는 것은 아니지만 어느 정도 일리가 있다고 생각이 되었습니다. 왜냐하면 아프리카 선교 16년이라는 시간이 지금까지 저희들에게 가르쳐준 것이 많기 때문입니다. 시간이 지나가면서 그간 아프리카에서 맺어진 열매들을 보면 선교는 참으로 주님이 하시고 계심을 실감하고 실감하게됩니다. 케냐를 비롯한 우간다, 탄자니아, 부룬디, 민주콩고, 말라위, 잠비아, 모잠비크, 수단의 사역들도 꾸준히 성장하고 있으며, 조만간 남아프리카공화국 Port Elizabeth 지역에서도 사역자훈련원을 개원할 것을 전망하고 있습니다. 아프리카 복음화를 향한 주님의 음성에 순종하여 EAPTC 선교를 위해 신실하게 기도해주시고 후원해주시는 여러분께 감사의 마음을 가지고 있습니다. 그리고 주님의 은혜와 공급이 동역자님들과 함께 하기를 매일 아침 위하여 기도하고 있습니다.

희들은 오랜만에 맛보는 한국의 무더운 늦여름 날씨와 싸우며(?) 안식년을 보내고 있습니다. 주님께서 우리의 형편과 처지를 아시고 가장 좋은 시기에 선교지에서 영적/육적으로 지친 심령을 회복의 시간들로 채워주고 계십니다. 송재은 선교사도 이제는 신촌유치원 생활에 많이 적응했고, 아이들은 이미 놀랍게 한국말을 구사합니다. 진규는 나름대로 학교축구부에서 맹활약을 하고 있고, 현규 역시 한국의 생활에 적응하고 있습니다. 2010년에 로잔세계복음화협의회의 선교학 저널 월드펄스(WorldPulse) 기고한 저의 논문을 옥스포드대학원 미국리서치센터에서 보고 제게 장학금을 제의해온것이 계기가 되어 시작하게된 PhD공부는 지금껏 진행되고 있습니다. 특히 이번 안식년 기간에 공부가 마무리지어지기를 소원합니다. 이제 기본 과정들은 일단락 마무리지어졌고 현재 리서치 방법론에 대해 익히고 있습니다. 가끔은 산을 넘고 넘는 느낌입니다. 많은 지혜와 인내가 필요합니다. 여러분의 계속적인 중보를 부탁드립니다.

마지막때 복음의 사역을 감당할 새로운 현지인 사역자들이 8 5 EAPTC 말라위 선교회의 Lilongwe 성경학교 졸업식을 통해 배출되었습니다. 오랜시간 선지동산에서 함께 동거동락하며 제자도를 나눈 교수진과 졸업생 일동에게 주의 위로와 축복이 함께 하기를 기도합니다. 또한 8 18 케냐 선교회의 Funyula에서는 목사 안수식을 가짐으로 기름부음을 받은 주의 종들이 배출되는 감사한 일도 있었습니다.

음은 EAPTC 아프리카 사역지를 그동안 6차례에 걸쳐 방문하셨던 시카고 Grace Restoration Community Church Hamon Kim 목사님이 제공한 정보를 기반으로 작성된 성장도표입니다. 제자훈련과 교회개척 사역을 통한 아프리카 선교의 번식성장의 모습을 보여주고 있습니다. 이렇듯 자전, 자치, 자립해가는 사역자훈련소 프로젝트를 통해 제자의 수는 늘어가고 이들을 통해 새로이 개척되는 교회가 더해가게 됩니다. 그리고 지역교회의 성장은 직접적으로 하나님 나라의 확장을 사회에 불러오게 된다고 저희는 믿는 것입니다. 그리고 이들의 사역을 후방에서 지원함으로써 실질적인 선교의 열매가 언젠가 아프리카를 뒤덮게 될것임을 우리는 믿어 의심치 않습니다.

사역자들은 졸업후 교회개척뿐 아니라 주민들로 하여금 가난을 이기고 일어설수 있도록 돕는 자립자금 조달 사역 (마이크로크레딧 프로젝트), 어린이 선교원/학교 사역, 문서 선교, 라디오 방송 선교, 농업 선교, 고아원 사역, 영화 필름 전도 등을 전개함으로써 지역사회에 통전적인 복음 (holistic gospel) 소개하고 전파합니다. 이처럼 훈련된 현지인 사역자는 그리스도의 복음을 현지의 상황에 보다 효율적으로 상황화(contextualization)시켜 전할수 있다는 잇점을 지니고 있습니다.

한국에서의 안식년 기간 중에도 저희는 기회가 주어지는대로 말씀과 선교의 비전을 나누고 있습니다. 그간 저는 서울하늘문교회 등지에서 설교하였고, 송재은 선교사는 신촌아름다운교회, 인천주안장로교회에서 어린이집회를 인도하였습니다. 한국이 보유한 소중한 선교인력들이 동원되어지고 준비되어지는 일에도 저희들을 주님이 사용해주시기를 기도해봅니다.

9월과 10월중 잠시 미국 동부에 들릴 계획으로 있습니다. 기회가 닿는데로 동역자님들과 후원자님들을 만나뵙기를 소망합니다. 미국 서부의 동역자님들과 후원자님들은 죄송하지만 사정상 다음 기회에 들려 함께 은혜를 나누도록 하겠습니다.

부족한 저희들을 통해 EAPTC선교회의 사역을 변치않고 후원해주시는 모든 분들께 감사를 드립니다. 여러분의 기도와 후원은 오늘도 많은 이들이 아프리카에서 주님을 만나고 따르는 열매가 맺히게하고 자라게함을 기억하시고, 이로 인해 보람과 감사의 삶을 누리실수 있기를 바랍니다. 계속하여 다음의 기도제목들을 놓고 기도해주시면 감사하겠습니다.

* 기도 제목들
1. EAPTC 목회자/선교사들, 사역자훈련원들, 유치원들, 교회들을 위해 (현지인 리더쉽 중심의 팀웍과 성장을 위해)
2. 새로이 개척되어지는 지교회들, 사역자훈련원들, 유치원들의 건축 보조금 모금을 위해
3. 진규, 현규의 축복된 학교생활을 위해
4. 저의 학업에 주님의 지혜와 은총이 함께 하도록
5. 송재은 선교사의 신촌유치원 사역에 주의 은혜가 함께 하도록

끝으로 EAPTC선교회의 새로운 홈페이지 <EAPTC.com> 많이 애용해주시기를 부탁드립니다. 여러분의 관심과 기도 그리고 후원이 오늘도 아프리카를 나은 곳으로 만들어가고 있습니다. 주님의 위로와 공급이 함께 하기를 간절히 기도드립니다.

2012 9 6일
안에서 동역자된,
석로 (재은, 진규, 현규) 드립니다.