L'Abri Newsletter, May 2022
April 26, 2022
Dear Praying Family,
Spring has arrived at L'Abri. White, pink, and red azaleas bloomed profusely pruned by JaeYong and KawangShik who live nearby. The Forest Service thinned the mountain trees behind L'Abri, which had been on bush fire a few years ago. We have finished preparing vegetable gardens. Maybe it's after the corona pandemic that dragged on for more than two years, so I realize that spring has come after a long time.
First of all, I am very sorry to those in the family who are ill, have severe effects, or have died because of the coronavirus, and I hope the Lord's comfort will be with you. Tirelessly, I would like to thank those who continue to pray for the mountain behind L'Abri and the Old Gas Station House. I am incredibly grateful to all those who have been with us through prayers and donations during difficult times.
However, there are many places where spring has not yet come. Such land is where justice is twisted and evil reigns supreme. Please continue to pray for peace to come soon to the warring Ukraine and conflict zones. God is still watching over nations and individuals who abuse or misuse the power, wealth, and time He bestowed upon them.
The person who had the most valuable time during the corona was SamWon. She is currently in the 4th semester of clinical practice in the counseling program. Please pray that what she has studied will be useful for the Kingdom of God. Changhee will give a memorable speech at the medical school of his alma mater Koshin University this afternoon. I am a little nervous about standing in front of people again for a lecture that has been stopped because of Coronavirus. Since May, my wife and I have invitations from several churches and schools.
Although the Coronavirus is not entirely over yet, we are preparing to welcome the guests the Lord will send from May 9th. We are already full of anticipation after receiving a letter from Prof. Schulten, who lives in the heart of the United States wants to help in July. A Singaporean is coming, and some teachers bring in about ten students. I am grateful to a few people who will present their papers at the Christian Worldview Forum on August 12-14. Please refer to the program announcement and pray that the fresh ideas of young people who try to look religious and social issues in Christian perspectives will present.
Every church is worried about young people leaving the church or moving away from Jesus during the coronavirus. In each church or L'Abri, I ask you to pray that many of them might come back to the Lord this summer and become Bible-believing Christians. I am currently studying the Acts. Philip preached in Samaria in Chapter 8, Simon, known as a magician, received the word and was baptized, but it turned out that he was a false convert.
There is some evidence that Simon was a false convert.
1) When the Apostles, Peter and John came down from Jerusalem and laid their hands on them, seeing the Holy Spirit coming and many paralytics and cripples being healed, as Dante pointed out, Simon committed the ‘simony of buying the Holy Spirit with money.’ (Acts 8:18, 19) When Simon said: "Give me this power also," he felt that the holy spirit was worthy of use to make money. And when Simon said, "Whoever I lay my hands on," I think he thought that the Holy Spirit was a power that could come out from his "hand," not from God the Father and Christ.
2) Considering at the warnings of the Apostle Peter, Simon was a man who had nothing to do with the gospel. (Acts 8:20-24) Simon was dishonest or dishonest before God. The saying goes, "You have no part in this way, and you have nothing to share" (8:21). Simon had nothing to do with the ministry of the gospel as well. And Simon, who heard Peter's warning, was afraid and asked for prayer, but he did not repent. I am aware that sometimes asking for prayer can be a deception or a trick to evade responsibility.
3) According to Justin, a martyr of the early church, "Simon visited Rome and became a monster of heresy to such an extent. He was praised as a god by the emperor Claudius." His conversion was a religious fraud and an outright false conversion, if this is true.
Is there a secret to preventing false converts? I believe there is no such trick, but there are a few things you can be careful about.
1) Don't be fooled by religious rhetoric. Generally speaking, "I have received the word" (cf. 8:14) means "I believed in Jesus." However, we should not think of those words mechanically as "received the Holy Spirit" or as "I repented." When people like Simon say, "I have listened to the word," it should be heard as "I seemed to like the word," not "I believe in Jesus." These days, more and more "church language" or "religious rhetoric" is empty of content or connotative meaning. In particular, this is why leaders should listen carefully to the words, "I received a lot of grace from the Word today."
2) Beware of emotional excitement. Luke, who wrote the book of Acts, made a distinction between those who were "wondered”, “amazed" (Acts 3:9, 10), “astonished” (8:13) and "pierced in the heart" (Acts 2:37). No matter how emotionally wondered, amazed, and astonished you may be, true converts is pierced in your heart and changed your minds and repented sins. If not, the false converts can be happened. As the table shows, the word differences are subtle, but the results are enormous. Peter explained more specifically what it means to be "pierced in the heart" and said that hearing the word of God leads to true repentance, the forgiveness of sins, and the presence of the Holy Spirit. "And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38, ESV).
“wonder” (Acts 3:10)
- Greek: θάμβος (thambos)
- Definition: Being emotionally shocked or afraid
- Meaning: Emotionally shocked but not surprised
“amaze” (Acts 3:10) and “astonish” (Acts 8:13)
- Greek: εκστασις (ekstasis) or ἐξίστημι (existēmi)
- Definition: Being emotionally surprised and loss of composure or minds
- Meaning: Emotionally very surprised and astonished, but not distressed
“cut to” (Acts 2:37)
- Greek: κατενιγημαι (katanygemai)
- Definition: Being emotionally distressed or affected sharply to the point of ripping your chest out
- Meaning: Emotionally so distressed and to be pierced
Conversion has to do with being "washed or blotted out" the penalty of sins (past), the essential part of the process of salvation. If the beginning goes wrong, the "refreshing" the power of sins (present) and "restoring" the presence of sins (future) that follow cannot happen. "Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago." (Acts 3:19-21, ESV).
3) Help change life. It is necessary not to be left alone but to associate with other brothers and sisters in a good church or community and help them to be nurtured. You have to let go of their selfish ambitions and watch as you go into every corner of the world and fulfill your responsibilities to serve. And it is also necessary to learn to manage the sweaty money that belongs to God, not yours. Luther said, "Conversion requires three things: the conversion of the mind, the conversion of the heart, and the conversion of the wallet." If life is not in order, we will not be able to overcome various temptations such as money, resentment, and distraction, and we will fall to Satan's counterattack. (Acts 5:1-11, 6:1, 2)
Conversion differs from person to person, and many false converts go unnoticed, so we must carefully help each person with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. Please pray that much-lost youth and false converts will come back through you this spring and summer.