Search

Dr. Daniel L. Wong

Tyndale prof

Why We Identify with Kim’s Convenience

Who hasn’t rushed into a convenience store to get a quick snack or went there because you didn’t want to drive to the grocery store? It was convenient. We sometimes notice the cashier/owner who often and speaks with an accent. We all identify with the new show Kim’s Convenience in some way.

Kim’s Convenience is a new show that reveals the life surrounding the store, especially the family that runs it and live in it. There are family dynamics in all families but many of us can identify with the challenges of immigrant families. There are differences in viewpoint and reference points. Beyond the generation gap, there are language and cultural gaps. Based on the live Tweets during the show (it was trending in Toronto and Canada) and the deluge after, many could identify with the family dynamics living in a majority/minority world.

Kim’s Convenience subtly addresses issues in a humorous way. It seems quite Canadian and Asian to do this indirectly whether this is the homosexual issue, success at work or aspirations for a daughter to get married and have children.

All of us bring a past and present to Kim’s Convenience. I am a 3rd generation American born Chinese who has been in Canada for more then 30 years. My own family has varied cultural mixes. I pastored in a Chinese church for 18 years (note Ins Choi own story of helping in a youth group and the Korean pastor in the show) and now teach at Tyndale University College & Seminary. In my current position I teach students of various cultures including Korean, Chinese, various shades of Canadian including Newfoundlanders. I say it is easy to step on cultural toes. Yet I find it an exciting adventure to dabble in various cultural foods and learn various traditions.

I look forward to the future episodes of Kim’s Convenience. I will laugh and cry as I identify with the characters and situations in the story which is our lives. I hope you do too.

Note: this is my initial response after watching the 2 opening episodes of Kim’s Convenience on Oct. 11, 2016.

First episodes at http://watch.cbc.ca/kims-convenience/season-1/feebd42e-998b-4745-9635-48e822c571c7

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
Featured post

The Greatest Commandment

I preached a message on “Essentials” on Mark 12:28-34 at Redeemer Chinese Evangelical Free Church, Toronto on July 16, 2017. Found in the bulletins was the pre-refrection by a member of the church. I thought it was so meaningful, I asked her permission to copy it in my blog. Thank you, Jessica!

The Shema is well- known to Redeemer. Many of us have memorized it in the past, and today, we hear that Jesus replies with the Shema when asked about the greatest commandment. Why? Perhaps He’s alluding to Exodus 20 when Moses received the Ten Commandments. In Exodus 20:2, God starts by saying, “I am the Lord your God” which is echoed in the Shema. It’s almost as if Jesus is responding to what God spoke in Exodus 20 and owns it. “The Lord is one” echoes Exodus 20:3 where God says, “You shall have no other gods before me.” Our God is Three in One, the Holy Trinity. We need to know whom we worship before we obey. The second part of the Shema says to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Essentially, Jesus is saying to love God with your entirety! However, Jesus doesn’t stop there! The scribe only asked for the most important commandment, but Jesus took the liberty to give a second! He tells us to love our neighbours as ourselves. Why? Thinking about Jesus’ audience, they are those who studied the law and often made it about law-keeping than people-keeping. Jesus came to change that. Jesus loves His people so much that He includes how we treat each other as part of the greatest commandment. In these two commandments, Jesus is saying that if we should forget everything else, let us remember this: love. It makes me think of 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, where it says if we have not love, we are nothing, even if we can do great things. Jesus summarizes the commandments simply. Love God. Love Others. Worship. Serve. Do we live out these commandments? They’re definitely not easy. I know I come up short daily. Thank God for Jesus Christ in whom all Scripture is fulfilled! We can only live out these two commandments by His help. Jesus Christ loves the Father completely (heart), yielded His spirit to Him (soul), was taught and taught God’s Word (mind), and constantly fed the hungry, healed the sick and cared for the poor (strength). Moreover, Jesus didn’t just love His neighbours as Himself, He loved us when we were His enemies and He loved us more than Himself. He loves us so much that He would give His life for us so that we might have life and glory instead of death. How great is the love of Christ!

Blessings,

Jessica Chen

Remembering You – My Years at the Toronto Chinese Baptist Church, 1982-86

I echo the Apostle Paul’s sentiments toward the church he served, “I thank my God every time I remember you” (Philippians 1:3). As the first English Ministry pastor at TCBC from 1982-1986, I am grateful for the tremendous support by the leadership and congregation of the church. It was a joy to ministry with Rev. Andrew Wong and the other pastors. At one point there were four Rev. Wong’s!

I am especially grateful for the support of our family as we moved up from Texas. My wife and I drove up. Subsequently some big babies were born – Joshua was born in Texas weighing 10 pounds, 4 ounces. Tiffany was born 2 years later at 9 pounds, 2 ounces. Especially with no family in Canada, you became our family.

I am grateful for important lessons forged in ministry that influence my teaching and pastoring today. Those are lessons of serving God as we serve others. We can always learn from another. We accept others because Christ has accepted us (Romans 15:7).

I love the church’s anniversary theme, “Blessed to Bless.” That is certainly my experience. I was blessed with my first full-time ministry at the church. It was a great place to develop ministry skills. I can certainly bless others by teaching at Tyndale University College & Seminary and other churches and places.

Congratulations on our 50th church anniversary. May each of us experience the blessings so we can bless others.

In Praise of a Classic Dad

I vividly remember my father and mother taking my older brother and I to U.S. National Parks. We went to Yellowstone when I was about 7. My brother and I were following around bears in the campground. We were just back in Yellowtone this June. Brings back a flood of memories. The picture above was taken on Oct. 31, 2007 in California, our home state. How many of you have United States serving World War II veterans in your family? My father served as in American-born Chinese unit. More about that here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/victoria-moy/chinese-american-wwii-vets_b_989073.html

I wrote this article in 1996 as a tribute to my father for the Family News of the Scarborough Chinese Baptist Church where I was serving as English Ministry pastor.  As he passed away on June 10 ’11, it is good to reflect on this. His funeral service was on the Sat. (June 19) of Father’s Day weekend.

 

“Old fashion.” “Behind the times” “Something out of the pest.”  These are ways some people might describe my dad.  I prefer the term “classic”.  By this I mean that there are qualities to be appreciated in the old way of doing things.  Today we crave for the new, the novel, the better way.  Yet, there are lessons we can learn from time-proven ways of doing things.

There is consistency in having the same job for over 40 years.  By “same,” I mean that he did basically the same “routine” job from the day he began work until the time he retired.  He was a loftsman at the Naval Air Station in Alameda, California.  I still can’t quite figure out what he did.  The best that I can figure out is that he made small scale prototypes of airplane parts from drawings.  He never aspired to be a supervisor.  “Too much pressure,” he would say.  “He became a foreman and look what happened to him,” was another of his famous sayings.  He never switched locations.  After serving in the Second World War, it was natural to get a job with the armed services.  He would leave the house at the same 6:30 a.m. time in the morning and return down the big hill at the same 4 p.m. time in the afternoon.  You could set your clock by his opening and closing of the front door.

Dad lived and still lives with mom at the same house in Oakland for over 40 years.  They lived there before I was born.  The only reason that I was born in San Francisco was because they knew the doctor there.  I forget the statistics how often people move residences.  From that house I went to Chicago to study at a Moody Bible Institute so I stayed in the dorm.  I spent a summer in Taiwan for summer missions after I finished my B.A. in Foreign Missions.  Then I was off to Dallas Seminary for study first residing in the dorm and then in a seminary apartment after I got married following the first year and a half.  Flora and I moved to our first house a few years later.  Then I was off to ministry in Toronto, first staying in an apartment, a rented house, our own house and then our current house.  That places me at 9 moves in over 20 years.  Other people have moved more or less times.  Yet my dad has zero moves in that time.

Dad was there in that house when the freeway was built and severed the street in two.  Our street name was change from “Avenue” to “Place”.  Dad was there when every neighbor in the 6 other houses in the “Place” changed owners, often more than once.  It wasn’t that my parents didn’t think about moving over the years.  My brother, Mike, the realtor, has often talked to them about the benefits of moving.  Dad would say, “It’s too much trouble to move.  We have too much junk!”  Well, dad is the consistency amidst inconsistency.  He is the stability amidst instability.

Dad never had a “to do” list.  Let me take that back.  He did get “to do” lists from mom.  They were the grocery lists.  Yet, Dad never seemed to get it just right.  He might bring back the right item but the wrong brand.  The other brand was the sale item.  The quantity was wrong.  The item didn’t match mom’s famous coupon that was supposed to go with the item.  We all had a good laugh when Dad returned from the store.

Dad never said, “I’m too busy.”  He always seemed to have time to play sports with his two boys.  When I went through stages of interest, he took me to the San Francisco Giants game, the San Francisco Warriors game, the World Federation of Wrestling match, and quite a few Oakland Raiders games.  It seemed like my wish was his command.  Dad wasn’t busy about his own hobbies but with ours like raising every kind of pet, including a total of three dogs, guinea pigs, hamsters, turtles, tropical fish, and goldfish.  We assembled plastic models.  Or should I say, we assembled my models.  I don’t recall that he had any hobby except if it was family.

Dad was always there when he was needed.  He was at all the school events.  He “helped” with the school projects.  He took our family to church.  As chauffeur, he dropped me off and picked me up from places.  He was patient enough to teach me how to drive.

When I think about the responsibilities of fathering, I often think about Dad.  Our children are moving up into the teen years and I think of what type of father I am to them.  You hear the “horror” stories the absentee dad or the one who traded presents for time.  My dad seemed to have a high priority on his family.

I haven’t followed in my father’s steps to do things so traditionally.  Some might take issue with that.  I hope that I have picked up my father’s emphasis on family.  Such an investment can have long-term returns from generation to generation

Happy APPA’s Day!

Appa (father in Korean) or Mr. Kim is the main character in Kim’s Convenience. It is his store and his family at the centre of the drama. Many of us draw connection with him directly. We see ourselves in his shoes as men and fathers. Other see him as the father or grandfather in our families or the proprietor in the local family store.

On Father’s Day, ;et’s looks at the father figure of Appa in Kim’s Convenience.

  1.  Appa is a Strong Father Figure

Like many families, Appa is a strong father figure. This is the traditional role in many homes of  the older style. No equal opportunity here! The father leads. In many Asian homes, the father rules the home by providing decisions and direction. From the Confucian ethic – there is father over mother, ruler over people, parents over child, etc.

Appa runs the store and runs his family (or tries to). Many families appreciate a strong father figure. With this, there is stability.

How is your home? Is the father the main mover? Or does he appear to lead and the mother actually lead. You have heard – the father is the head but the mother is the neck that turns the head. Or is there a good discussion and mutual decisions make? Just a note – as this is what you see modelled in the home, it is the expectation you bring into your marriage and family.

While you may complain, appreciate your strong father on Father’s Day.

  1. Appa is the Provider of the Family

With running Kim’s Convenience, Appa provides for his family. He works tirelessly to meet the needs for the family. Note the litany of items he provides for Janet including the camera and music lessons.

I always appreciate the immigrant father. I sure wouldn’t move to another country with a different language and culture. And that, for the sake of my children or future children. So many immigrant families have sacrificed a lot for their children. Of course, they remind you of that often. Hmm, I did immigrate from the U.S. to Canada. At least the main language was English (with a few Eh’s) and I did study 2 years of French growing up in California).

We should be thankful for fathers (and mothers) who provide for the family. They do indeed work hard so that we have the opportunities and things we have.

On this Father’s Day we should show appreciation (not just say it).

  1. Appa means well but doesn’t come across well

Appa is awkward. He puts his foot in his mouth often. He is apt to embarrass Janet and other members of the family. How many of us have bemoaned that our parents never told us that they love us? How many of our parents understand us?

If we give them the benefit of the doubt, we can realize that they mean well and want the best for us. They love us but won’t say it. They show it, often in subtle and indirect ways.

It is interesting that Korean’s don’t have Father’s Day and Mother’s Day but Parent’s Day. My Korean friend give me this insight. Most Koreans in North American and other Western places have adopted this family recognition.

Still looking for a Father’s Day gift? I came across and interesting post about a Korean Father’s Day gift http://askakorean.blogspot.ca/2011/06/korean-fathers-day-gift.html

The question and answer provided excellent insight: “The Korean [author of askakorean] is convinced that Korean men — particularly in late 50s or above — are the hardest people in the world to buy gifts for. In fact, it is somewhat sad when you consider why. Older Korean men, generally speaking, have worked in poverty all their lives. They did not have the money to develop a finer taste on anything, nor did they have the time to cultivate a meaningful hobby. Korea’s traditional gift-giving culture be damned — the very idea of gift-giving can be antithetical to these men, particularly when the gift is being given to them.”

The gist of the article is to ask the mother what the father needs, not wants 😉  .

 

The article concludes: “But there is something that Korean fathers do want — their children’s love and respect. No matter what you end up buying, do not let the material thing to be the substitute for your expression of love and respect. Make sure the gift is accompanied by a heartfelt card that you wrote. Korean fathers may not show their reaction outwardly, but they will surely smile in the inside.”

My Korean-American friend in the U.S. who is a Kim’s Convenience fan gives this reflection: “My Dad is Appa: stubborn and direct with his family, but full of love that eventually makes it way to the surface for them to see. I am Appa too, for exactly the same reason.” @eybyon

Appa of Kim’s Convenience has shared quite a bit about his Appa and his parenting. I’m sure we see much of this reflected in Season 1 of Kim’s Convenience. We look forward to more in Season 2 Am I on target, Paul @bitterasiandude ?

Happy Father’s Day to all!!! #okseeyou

Positive Attitudes and Actions

“Positive Attitudes and Actions”

Sermon on Philippians 4:4-9 by Rev. Dr. Daniel L. Wong

Martin Grove Baptist Church, Toronto, April 30, 2017

When parent go away on vacation, they leave the children in the house with a list. These include a number of do and don’ts. They include, wash the dishes after use. That implies not to wait until the night until we come back to wash them. Take out the garbage. Don’t have a party in the house. Don’t leave the stove on.

The Apostle Paul gives a checklist for his fellow believers at Philippi. They are the conclusion of his letter, right before he signs off. They are important reminders and instruction as they are apart. They are called by Bible Commentator, Gordon Fee, as “staccato imperatives.” As the music term implies, with each sound or note sharply detached or separated from the others for emphasis.

We will look at these positive attitudes and actions that we should incorporate in our lives. May the Lord particularly remind you of one to grasp and apply.

  1.  Rejoice in the Lord

This is not a new concept in the book of Philippians. It is often called a letter of joy. The word “rejoice” or “joy” is used 16 times in the letter. We are especially reminded in this verse that “to rejoice” is not based on circumstances or good fortune. We are to rejoice in the Lord always, at all times, in any circumstance. Did you hear that, church? If not, “Rejoice in the Lord, always and again I say, Rejoice.” Paul and Silas demonstrated that when they first came to their city, were put in prison and were singing songs of praise. The Philippians themselves were going through tough times as well by those outside and even inside the church. Rejoicing must be in the Lord. While complaining and a sad face may be a natural response. Rejoicing is a supernatural response.

We note that rejoicing is commanded. We may not feel like it. We do this by faith. Do you remember the classic children’s song, With Christ in the Vessel?

“With Christ in the vessel, We can smile at the storm, Smile at the storm 2X

With Christ in the vessel, We can smile at the storm As we go sailing home.”

The song is based on Jesus with the disciples in the midst of the storm on the lake.

We can take the stance demonstrated by many of the Psalms. “The righteous rejoice in the Lord” (Ps 64:10; 97:12). They praised God in advance. They thanked God in advance for what was yet to happen. They did this by faith. For them, it was a done deal. Do you have this inner joy? If so, let your face know about it. Have a “sneaky smile.” Other will ask, why are you smiling? Smile by faith.

  1.  Demonstrate gentleness

Even amidst difficult circumstances, believers were not to retaliate but to show gentleness. Other words for gentleness include “kindness” and “tenderness.” Gentleness is polite, restrained behavior. This is not weakness but it takes strength to control anger and not lash back. It is showing kindness when the expected response is retaliation (Thielman)

What I am finding is the aggressiveness of drivers who are anything but gentle. They tailgate you, honk their horns, and even use their car as a weapon to cut you off. I don’t see that many gentle drivers these days. I saw a post this morning – “For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness” by Ralph Waldo Emerson (posted on Instagram by Canadian Living).

The opposite of gentleness is the spirit of contention and self-seeking. (Lightfoot by Fee).  This is the Apostle Paul’s version of 1 Peter 2:23, spoken of Christ but urged on Christian slaves: “when they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” It is this gentle forbearance and meekness of Christ, to which Paul appealed in 2 Corinthians 10:1, which he here calls the believers to exhibit in Philippi. (IVP Commentary on Biblegateway.com). Meekness and gentleness (same word) of Christ. This is the proper conduct of a gentleman or gentlewoman.

Why are we gentle? The Lord is near. Psalm 145:18, “The LORD is near to all who call on him. Also, it means that the Lord’s coming is near who will right all wrongs.

  1.  Don’t worry but pray about it

We come to the verses that are the ones most quoted in this book. Philippians 4:6-7. They are found of Bible memory systems. They are very meaning. They connect worry and prayer. Did you know that worry is a sin? Don’t worry about it. If we worry, we are not following the Lord and his instructions.

What are you worrying about today? What keeps you up at night or preoccupies your thought? Is it making ends meet? Personal or family health? Worry is related to concern. People have panic attacks too where they are immobilized, heart racing, thinking about something.

We are to specifically pray about it specifically. Illustration of “My Worry Book.” Write down your worries specifically and pray about each one.

Changing perspective. “When asked “How would you have lived your life differently if you had a chance?” Nadine Stair, an 85-year-old woman, from Louisville, Kentucky, provided these poetic words as her response…

If I had my life to live over again,

I’d dare to make more mistakes next time.

I’d relax.

I’d limber up.

I’d be sillier than I’ve been this trip.

I would take fewer things seriously.

I would take more chances,

I would eat more ice cream and less beans.

I would, perhaps, have more actual troubles but fewer imaginary ones.

you see, I’m one of those people who was sensible and sane,

hour after hour,

day after day.

Oh, I’ve had my moments.

If I had to do it over again,

I’d have more of them.

In fact, I’d try to have nothing else- just moments,

one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day.

I’ve been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot-water bottle, a raincoat, and a parachute.

If I could do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.

If I had to live my life over,

I would start barefoot earlier in the spring

and stay that way later in the fall.

I would go to more dances,

I would ride more merry-go-rounds,

I would pick more daisies.”

https://mrsmindfulness.com/if-i-had-my-life-to-live-over-again/

(I have seen a number of versions of this)

As a result, we experience God’s peace. It guards or garrisons our lives – hearts and minds.

  1.  Think good thoughts

Here are a number of areas to focus our mind. Whatever is…  What fills or occupies our minds overflows to speech and action. These are certainly an apt description of Jesus Christ. We need a good filter on what we allow through our eye gate to enter our minds. You are what you eat. You are what you think.

  1.  Imitate good examples

Paul is the example for them to follow, It was by what they heard or saw from him. They were to put these into practice. We have many great examples of Christian faith in our midst. Here the stories. Learn from each other.

Conclusion:

Positive attitudes and actions? In what area is God speaking to you? To rejoice in the Lord, demonstrate gentleness, don’t worry but pray about it, think good thought or imitate good examples? Decide on one. Pray about it. See how God will develop that in your life this week.

Joseph Scriven was a person who experienced grief.  Born in  Ireland, he desired as a young man to follow in his father’s footsteps as a Royal Marine, but his poor health made that impossible. Then he fell in love and was engaged to be married, but his fiancee had a riding accident, was thrown of a horse and went head first into a river and drowned before their wedding could take place.

To put as much distance as possible between himself and that tragedy, Scriven then moved to Canada. While living here, he became engaged again, but his fiancee became ill and died before they could be married.

In his grief, Scriven determined to devote himself to a life of service.  He was especially known for carrying a bucksaw and cutting firewood for people in need. He was trying to live out the Sermon on the Mount.

Scriven received word that his mother was ill.  He couldn’t afford to return to Ireland, so he sent his mother a poem in the hope that it would comfort her. The poem began, “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!  What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!” He later submitted a copy of his poem to a religious journal anonymously, where it was published.  A few years later, in 1866, he died.

But his poem lived on in ways that he could never have imagined.  Ira Sankey, a musician who worked with Dwight L. Moody, published it in a book of hymns, and Moody had it sung in his evangelistic meetings.  Soon “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” was one of the best-known hymns in America.  Missionaries took it abroad, where people sang it in many languages.

This hymn has maintained its popularity for a century and a half—probably because a man acquainted with grief—who happened also to be acquainted with faith—helps us to see that faith can triumph over grief. The hymn of often sung at funeral and we will sing it in a couple of moments. (from  https://austinbhebe.wordpress.com/2012/08/31/what-a-friend-we-have-in-jesus/ . Also see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKjUoE2fack

A Fresh Start

A Sermon on John 21:15-22 by Rev. Dr. Daniel L. Wong at Martin Grove Baptist Church, Toronto, Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017

You know what it’s like. You are working in front of the computer screen for hours. You have a lot of screens open. All of sudden your curser freezes. You try different ways to get it going.  You don’t want to do it.  You might lose some of your precious data.  You feel frustration but you have to do it.  You search for the Control-Alt-Delete and reboot your computer.  You have a fresh start.

Sometimes our lives need a reboot.  We have a tangled mess, too many windows open. Our minds are filled to overflowing that it disturbs our sleep at night.  Sometimes it is recounting the mistakes we made.

This is how Peter must have felt.  He wanted a fresh start.  Regardless of his resolve to be faithful to the Lord, he failed.  It was as the Lord predicted.  He denied that he even knew the Lord not once, not twice, but three times.  Most painful was what is recorded in Luke 22:60-62, “The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter.” I preached about this on Good Friday.

It plays over and over in our minds.  Peter went to clear his mind, to have a fresh start—he went fishing.  There is nothing sinful in this.  We do not need to read into this that they were returning to their old profession.  They were waiting for the Holy Spirit’s outpouring after the resurrection.

The gentle waves were lapping against the side of the boat.  When the disciples were in a boat, Jesus calmed the storm and Peter walked on water.  Peter tried but received the “Oh you of little faith.”   At least he had this experience that no one else shared.

  1. Look for God’s reminders to restore you

Let us notice how the Lord uses a number of things to jar Peter’s mind and bring him healing and restoration, to have a fresh start.

The disciples fished all night and didn’t catch anything.  That sounds familiar.  A voice like a smooth stone skipping out to him from the shore, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”  “No,” was the reply.  “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.”  They did it.  The water was churning with fish.  As the net fills up, so does his memory.  Do you remember what memory?  It was the morning Jesus first called him to be a disciple (Luke 5:3-11).  He and his partners were cleaning their nets after they had fished all night and caught nothing.  Jesus told them to row out to the deep water and let down their nets.  The catch was so incredible the nets began to break and the boat started sinking.  He remembers how he realized then that Jesus was Lord.  How unworthy he felt to be in His presence.  Falling at Jesus’ knees he pleaded with Jesus to leave him.  But Jesus didn’t leave.  “Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people” (Luke 5:10).  It has been noted, “Never in the Gospels do the disciples catch a fish without Jesus’ help” (Raymond Brown, The Gospel of John, 1071).

Suddenly it dawns on John, it is the Lord.  What do you do when you’ve failed a friend? You go to him.  Within a flash, Peter is in the water swimming to Jesus.  Wet and shivering, Peter reaches the shore.

His eyes look down to see a fire of burning coals.  His hands instinctively reach out to warm them over the coals.  We see memory in motion again.  It was on that fateful night that a similar fire had warmed him the night of his denial (John 18:18).  The same Greek words are used but not in the New International Bible version.  It is the same in the Chinese Bible—“tan huo.”

One hundred and fifty-three fish are found in the nets.  Jesus prepares the meal without these fish.  There is a sharp contrast to the disciples’ inability to provide food for themselves.

Fish and bread sound familiar?  In both the feeding of the 5000 and 4000 fish and bread were miraculously multiplied by the Master.  God as the great provider!  Food and particularly bread speak of sharing fellowship, one aspect of the communion meal.

Simon Peter, Simon, Son of John, were names used in his calling (John 1:42).  This is a focus on his human nature. Often we are reminded of our past by our nicknames.  Jesus doesn’t say, “Some friend you turned out to be…. I’m really disappointed in you, you let me down, you’re all talk, and you call yourself a disciple?”

Instead, he simply asks, “Do you love me more than these?” Was this referring to people, or fishing?  This is the ultimate question. One noted, it is the ultimate question when one is faced with temptation.

We see the interplay of the Greek word for “love.”  Jesus asks Peter twice if he loves him with the agape love.  Peter responds with phileo or the kind affection type of love.  On the third time Jesus uses that phileo love to which Peter affirms it. There is a distinction https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/ivp-nt/Jesus-Forms-Peter-as-Leader-as-Disciple

Was Jesus coming down to Peter’s level?  There are three affirmations for the three denials, one affirmation for each denial.  There is a confession of his love.  It is not what we do but rather whether we truly love the Lord.

For Peter, Jesus used a net full of fish, a coal fire, bread and fish, three times affirmation, and “follow me.”  What is the Lord using to jar your memory?  What is God using to bring you back to him?

  1.  Carry out God’s purposes for you

Feed my lambs, take care of my sheep, and feed my sheep.  Take care of people I entrust into your care.  The good shepherd was recommissioning his shepherd.

You haven’t fouled out of the game.  You have made mistakes but they are forgivable.  God forgives and restores.  Peter’s ministry was not over.  He is re-commissioned.

What I see is the Lord affirming His love to Peter, using means that seemed painful but necessary.  As tonsils are infected, they must be taken out.  It is painful when it comes to healing.

This is the burden of many Christians.  They are laboring under something they did wrong in the past.  Those in shame-based cultures are laboring under the cultural weight of shame.  We may have wronged our parents and trying to do something to make it up.  Whatever you have done wrong in the past, God is there with love and forgiveness.

  1.  Be careful of comparison

Once Peter knew his fate and Jesus’ invitation of “Follow me,” he got into the comparison game.  Out of the corner of his eye, he saw John. He inquired of his future.  Like a parent getting a child’s attention, Jesus said not to worry about him but “you follow me.” According to tradition, Peter was crucified upside down.  What about John the Apostle?  He died of old age.  Each is to be faithful in following Christ.

That is at the heart of Christian discipleship – following Christ.  That is a unique task and it looks different for each one of us.  Everyone has different gifts and talents.  Each to be committed and utilized for God.

Conclusion:

On New Year’s Day, 1929, a University of California (Berkeley) football player named Roy Riegels made Rose Bowl history.  He was playing defense when an opposing player dropped the ball.  Roy grabbed the ball and took off for the end zone.  In his confusion, he headed the wrong way.  His own teammate took off after him and was able to tackle him before he made a touchdown for the other team.

The University of California took over with the backs to their own goal line.  The other team’s defense was tough so California had to punt.  But the other team blocked the kick in the end zone and scored a two-point safety.  This was just before half time.  The men went into the locker room.  What will Coach Price do with Roy Riegels?  “Men, the same team that played the first half will start the second.”  That included Roy Riegels.  The men went back to the field but Roy sat there with his head in a towel.  The coach repeated his statement.  Roy responded, “How can I go back on the field?  I have failed the University of California and you, coach.”  Get up and go on back, the game is only half over.”  What a great coach!  (From an illustration by Haddon Robinson, https://bible.org/illustration/1929-rose-bowl). YouTube on the incident: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEVR7fCxJ_U

God is the God of the second chance and third and fourth.  What a great God.  God’s love is affirmed along with love and forgiveness and puts us back into the game.

On Good Friday, with our delectable breakfast, there were colorful fresh flowers on the table. There were pansies and violas. Pansies are annuals but violas are perennials. They expire at the end of the season but poke out of the ground around now and begin to flower.

This is Easter Sunday, a time of resurrection. A time for a fresh start.

Some practical ideas to have a fresh start.  Push the pause button.  Take some time to reflect.  What is God trying to remind me?  What is being used? What is holding me back?  It the shame of a past deed or relationship.  Seek restoration, forgiveness.  Maybe it is to get out of your rut.  Change a habit or pattern of life.

Some of the ideas for this sermon taken from Ken Gire, Intimate Moments with the Savior: Learning to Love (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1989)

Encounter on the Way to the Cross

A Sermon on Luke 22:54-65 by Rev. Dr. Daniel L. Wong

Martin Grove Baptist Church, Toronto, Good Friday, April 14, 2017

We have all had an experience when we failed someone. We promised that we would never ever tell another living soul, but we did. We said that we would keep and watch a friend’s house and water the plants. The results? Wilted flowers and a rift in the relationship. We feel ashamed.

Peter in the Bible had that experience as well. In “The Crowing Rooster and Me: The Burden of Shame” by Max Lucado:

“See the fellow in the shadows? That’s Peter. Peter the apostle. Peter the impetuous. Peter the passionate. He once walked on water. Stepped right out of the boat onto the lake. He’ll soon preach to thousands. Fearless before friends and foes alike. But tonight the one who stepped on the water has hurried into hiding. The one who will speak with power is weeping in pain.

Not sniffling or whimpering, but weeping. Bawling. Bearded face buried in thick hands. His how echoing in the Jerusalem night. What hurts more? The fact that he did it? Or the fact that he swore he never would?

‘Lord I am ready to go with you to prison and even to die with you? He pledged only hours earlier.’ But Jesus said, ‘Peter, before the rooster crows this day, you will deny me three times that you don’t know me’” (Luke 22:33-34) [Traveling Light, Thomas Nelson, 2001]

The painting by Carl Heinrich Bloch (1834-90) captures this powerful moment of denial. Prints of this passed to the congregation.

  1. The denial

On a cool spring night, similar to what we are experiencing lately, In the courtyard, Peter seeks warmth by a coal fire where others are gathered. He sits down among others. We see him instinctively reaching out his hands, rubbing them together to keep the circulation going.

A servant girl looks closely at him in the firelight and said, “This man was with him.” Peter denied it saying, “I don’t know him.” Peter doesn’t answer the question directly. The gospel of Matthew says, “I don’t know what you are talking about.” The first denial. In baseball, we call that strike one.

A little later a person saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” You are one of Jesus’ disciples. “Man, I am not,” was Peter reply. One commentator says Luke is more kind to Peter. The denial is found in all four Gospels. Matthew and Mark say that Peter called down curses and make an oath. He swore that he was not one of Jesus’ disciples. The second denial. Strike two. Time passes. An hour later of relative silence. We’re not sure what was going through Peter’s mind. Maybe he was recounting his relationship with Jesus.

“Certainly this man was with him, for he is a Galilean.” His accent gave him away. He was from the northern area of Galilee, not this southern area of Judea where they are in Jerusalem. Jesus is often called a Galilean as he spent his early years in Nazareth. He was born in Bethlehem in Judea. Interestingly enough, the twelve disciples were Galileans except one. That is Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus.

One’s accent is one way to identify others. Some of us have been identified or misidentified regarding our country of origin. How many have been asked, “What are you?” We feel fenced in and marginalized. Did Peter feel this way in his life?

Peter is close is being discovered. John’s account says that the accuser was a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off. Peter denied it. Strike three. You’re out!

It was right at the moment when Jesus was shackled and shuffled between trials that Jesus encounters Peter. It was in between a meeting with the former high priest Annas and current high priest Caiphas that this encounter took place. Not one, not two, but three denials.

  1. The shame

Luke records the incident, just as Peter was speaking, the rooster crowed and the Lord looks straight at Peter. Peter is caught red handed. Caught in a lie. You are gossiping about someone and the person walks right behind and catches you talking about him. It is like you hand is caught in the cookie jar.

What triggered Peter’s memory? Was it that rooster’s crowing? The focus here is the look of the Lord. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.”

Jesus was on his way to the cross. Five more trials to come. Peter was following at a distance and now he denies the Lord.

What shame. A number of translations use the word “disown.” That is a strong term means that you give up a person or object. To disassociate yourself with some one. We are reminded of the prodigal son leaving his father and asking for his inheritance.

Peter’s response is grief, weeping bitterly. He was sorry but couldn’t tell Jesus directly.      Shame is called “one of the most destructive emotions. Shame is that painful, sinking feeling that tells us that we’re flawed or defective. The French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre described shame as that ‘immediate shudder which runs through me from head to foot.’ https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/intimacy-path-toward-spirituality/201608/the-power-healthy-shame For Judas it could lead him to a false repentance and to suicide. We have experienced crippling shame. The voices of accusation. Many of the cultures of our origins are shame-based.

On the other hand, shame can lead us to a positive outcome. If one doesn’t experience any shame, that person can be cold. It can bring us to face real self. It can bring us to the restoration of relationships.

3.  The anticipated restoration

Jesus had predicted Peter’s denial. Luke 22:31-32: “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

No doubt Jesus’ look was one of compassion and love. Luke used the word John used in John 1:42 to describe the way Jesus looked at Peter when they first met. It usually signifies a looks of interest, love and concern (Walter Liefeld, “Luke” in Expositor’s Bible Commentary).

After the denial, the disowning, after the fall, Peter has future. When you return from the far field like the Prodigal son, there is a waiting father, there are open arms. We will see that story on Easter Sunday in John 21.

Make sure that shame leads to a positive outcome – a restoration of relationships.

Conclusion:

Jesus moves on his journey to the cross. Guards mock and beat him. They blindfold him and see if he is really a prophet. Who hit you? Jesus suffers the fate of the prophets before. It is only a foretaste of more suffering to come.

Jesus moves on his journey to the cross. Guards mock and beat him. They blindfold him and see if he is really a prophet. Who hit you? Jesus suffers the fate of the prophets before. It is only a foretaste of more suffering to come.

Display large nail. There is a great emotional impact of what  Jesus suffered for us. Crucifixion on this Good Friday.

It’s Friday, but Sunday’s Comin’ – famous sermon by S. M. Lockeridge:

“It’s Friday

The disciples are running

Like sheep without a shepherd

Mary’s crying

Peter is denying

But they don’t know

That Sunday’s a comin’”

The entire sermon section:

https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/justintaylor/2014/04/18/its-fridaybut-sundays-comin/

“The Crowing Rooster and Me.” I think more of this passage of Jesus look and me. I remember my words of commitment and Jesus words of assurance. He know my failures, he had time for me and for the compassionate look on the way to the cross.

A Cool, Christian, Korean Boy – Found!

 

cool-christian-korean-boy-found-sam-kim

Ever since the first episode of Kim’s Convenience, when Janet said there wasn’t a cool, Christian, Korean boy, I have been on the lookout for one. I believe I found one. Sam Kim agreed to be interviewed.  He is currently a student at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto (M.Div.) and graduated with a B.A. at Tyndale University College, Toronto, in Biblical Studies and Theology. To fulfill the criterion, I asked him to respond to the questions, Are you cool? Are you Christian? Are you Korean? Are you looking for a cool, Christian, Korean girl? Let’s hear him respond in his own words.

 1.  Are you cool?

This question is kind of a difficult one to answer, in a way if I answer that means to say I admit that I am cool and that would be uncool of me; a cool person needing to announce that they are cool is announcing it to convince themselves more than they are others. Others will know if a person is cool. So, it’s kind of a catch 22. Also the word “cool” can be taken in a variety of ways, fashionable, stylish, chic, sophisticated, dope, sick, etc.

But for the sake of this interview if I were to be cool, and acknowledge that I am cool, I guess there are a lot of moving parts that make up my “coolness.” Coolness” it could have to do with my laid back/ carefree attitude, my loyalty to my friends, being there for others when it counts, being dependable and reliable. Maybe it has something to do with my own weird sense of humor? Or maybe my winning personality (joking of course).

 2.  Are you a Christian?

This question is a little bit easier to answer, this is probably because it more of a relational lifestyle choice that I consciously make every day.

The obvious goes without saying, believing in God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Admitting that I am a sinner needing the grace and mercy of God and knowing that He sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for my sins; believing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the forgiveness of sins, the Promise of everlasting life.

There’s also the importance of taking up your cross daily, being a new person in Christ, finding your identity in Christ, sharing in His sufferings and His reward as we are heirs and co-heirs with Christ. And as I said it is a relational lifestyle, so there is aspect of being in His Word every day, praying, being in communion with other believers.

 3.  Are you Korean?

Being Korean is obviously not a choice or something that I can work at, it is who I am. As my mother and my father are both Korean it is obvious that I would be Korean, unless my parents switched babies with a Chinese couple on accident or maybe it was on purpose. But it means different things to different people.

There is also the difference to being a 1st generation Korean or a 2nd generation Korean. I am a 2nd generation Korean and some of my closest friends are 1st generation or more accurately 1.5 generation Korean, sometimes they tease me saying you’re not a true Korean unless you’ve tried this food, or know this song, or play this game.

To my parents it means being able to play an instrument and by instrument I don’t mean the guitar. I mean either the violin and/or the piano. Getting good grades, and by good grades I don’t mean a B+ or an A-, it means getting an A. Getting into a college and when I say college I don’t mean a community college, I mean a 4-year-college, and being either a doctor or a lawyer, and when I say a doctor I don’t mean a dentist, I mean a brain and/or heart surgeon.

To me it encompasses all these things and before all else a strong sense of family. Loyalty to family must be first and foremost. Being a 2nd generation Korean it is at times difficult growing up in Korean household and the restrictions of the rules of my parents. But I do love the culture of my Korean heritage and balancing both the Korean and Canadian part of my life is always a challenge but it always makes things interesting.

 4.  Are you looking for a cool Christian Korean girl?

You sound like my mother. This is the question that she always asks whenever I see her, which is why I try to limit seeing her (just kidding). This is also all the questions that my relatives always asks especially on the holidays. I have a very large extended family. Sometimes, I think I should wear a sign around my neck about my marital status on the holidays and family gatherings.

But she doesn’t necessarily have to be Korean…there’s always the joke among my family that I am the black sheep when it comes to my romantic life (or lack thereof), they think that I don’t like Korean girls considering my track record with girls that I have dated have always been Caucasian, but I promise it’s not because of prejudice, it’s just a strange coincidence…or at least I think it is…maybe it’s a subconscious decision because Korean girls remind me of my mother?

But maybe if/when you do interview of a cool Christian Korean girl you can give her my contact info.

sam-kim-w-cn-tower

 

There you have it. Sam is certainly a candidate for a cool, Christian, Korean boy. What do you think Janet and Umma? Sam says you or others can contact him @samuelkskim.

 

 

Representing Christ

A sermon by Dr. Daniel L. Wong
Martin Grove Baptist Church, Toronto
November 20, 2016

You are a representative of your company when you work for a company. When someone asks where you work and you tell them the name. They often connect their experience with the company and tell you about it.

I have been a professor at Tyndale University College & Seminary for the past 16 years. During that time we have Ontario university status (2013) and moved locations. I proudly represent our school. Invite others to come to events at our school. A number of you will attend Christmas in the Chapel on Dec. 3. I encourage others to explore studying with us. Just yesterday, we were shopping and I bumped into a pastor. I asked him about further study at Tyndale. He said he would come if he didn’t have to go through the application process. We both laughed.

As a person who comes to Martin Grove Baptist Church, you represent the church. Last week, after church I ate lunch with my former student Jae. You recall that last week that the follow through is to help another progress in their faith. During lunch we had a nice conversation. We ate at McNies, Fish and Chips, south at Burnanthorpe and Martin Grove. Based on Jae’s Scottish background we had haggis and at a snowball, a Scottish dessert. Also had their famous fish and chips too. We also got to encourage the waitress, Joey, so if you see her, say hello for us and give her a big tip!

1. Represent Christ

Here in Philippians the Apostle Paul encourages us to be excellent representatives of Jesus Christ. He says in Philippians 1:27, “Conduct yourselves in a matter worthy of the gospel of Christ.”

Often the apostle Paul talks about the “walk” or “manner of life” as Ephesians and Colossians. That is more a Jewish background of walk as a way of life.

Here he connects with the Philippians and uses an image for “live as a citizen.” ‘Politeusthe’ sounds like the word “politics.” That is the literal meaning. The only other time with word is used is in Acts 23:1: “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.”

Philippi was a Roman colony. It named after King Philip II or Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great. It was a prosperous Roman colony. The people dressed like Romans and often spoke Latin (from NIV Application Commentary: Philippians). They knew the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship. Paul point out that he was born a Roman citizen (Acts 22:28) and that came with it rights.

Many of us are newer citizens of Canada. We have some from other countries and found Canada as our new home. We know the privileges of citizenship when we use our passport.
After my wife Flora and I became citizen is 2007. I was shortly called for jury duty, one of the responsibilities of citizenship. We learned about the justice system and many names were called to serve. I learned about people and citizenship that day.

As good citizens we want to represent our country well. Our neighbors to the south are often called “ugly Americans” due to their conduct abroad. We want to be known as good representatives of Jesus Christ and not “ugly Christians.”

2. Display Unity

Here the apostle Paul tells us how we are to represent Christ. We are first to stand firm
In one spirit. This is a defensive stance. Just like the Canadian football team defense digs in to not give up any yards. Lock arms. Join together. Stand firm. It doesn’t mean we all have the same opinion or we blindly follow our leaders. One person said where there are two Baptists, there are three different opinions. In Baptist polity, Christ is the head of the church, then the people, then the leaders. Of course there is an intermingling of people and leaders.

Don’t disturb the unity. That unity has been established by Christ.

We are to contend as one person for the faith of the gospel. We are to be on the offense. We are to promote the gospel. At the end of October we have Reformation Sunday where we recognized the Protestant Reformation as well as Martin Luther, who nailed his 95 Theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, on October 31, 1517, the eve of All Saints’ Day. It is the 500th year in 2017. The tradition of Reformation Sunday offers an opportunity to celebrate our heritage and history, to affirm our central theological convictions and to consider God’s ongoing reformation of the church: salvation by grace through faith, centrality of the Word (both preached and visible in the Lord’s Supper), and participation of all people in worship through congregational singing and vernacular reading of scripture and preaching.

This gospel explained in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 – Christ died for our sins and was resurrected.

We are not frightened by the opposition. We don’t have fear for the Lord is with us. Study the “fear nots” in Scripture. One boy is a play who said, “It’s me and I’m scared.”
People disagree with our Christian viewpoints. People may make fun of us. Family members laugh.

Outcome is our salvation, their destruction.

3. Suffer for your faith

Suffering goes right along with representing Christ and trying to be a unified Christian
Body. It has been granted or appointed. 2 Timothy 3:12 Paul notes that everyone who want to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. This is opposition from the outside. North America is one of the few areas that has not gone through persecution as Christians.

Some of you are from areas where you have experienced persecution for your faith. Here is information on Myanmar.

Struggles to stand up for Christ in the workplace, your school, your neighborhood, the society. We need wisdom, courage and boldness.

 

Next Sunday is Advent when our attention turns to the incarnation and movement toward Christmas. I saw some Advent calendars in the store. Guess what was on them? Santa Claus. No Christian advent. Same chocolate treats!

The season is a great time to represent Christ. You have an event next Saturday to invite friends. What they say, let’s keep Christ in Christmas as we represent Christ individually and as a unified church.

 

Sources:

Getz, Gene A. Pressing On When You’d Rather Turn Back: Studies in Philippians. Ventura: Regal, 1983

Thielman, Frank. The NIV Application Commentary: Philippians. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995.

 

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑