Where did the Israelites perish? During the process of the 40-year wilderness course, the first generation died, but still the nation of Israelites did not perish. They were marching on to the promised land of Canaan, which was their hope. Then where did they perish? They perished after they had entered the promised land. What was the cause of their destruction? They were not able to unite with their leaders centering on the will of God and they began to be influenced and absorbed by their environment. As a result, after they restored Canaan, these Israelites perished. They were divided into 10 tribes of Israel in the north and two tribes of Judah in the south. As I said, where did the Israelites perish? They perished after they entered the land of Canaan. You have to clearly know that.
What would perish mean? It would be the way of decline. The way of decline starts from the position of having received a blessing. From these historical facts you have to understand this lesson, and with the mistaken past as a reference you have to go over the way of decline and destruction in fulfilling your historic mission. You should not make your daily life ordinary. You have to develop from the position of today to the position of tomorrow, and then you have to march forward to further development. You are expected to form, starting from yourself, a new family, new tribe, new nation and a whole new world. You must not repose at your current standard. To make further development toward tomorrow you must be careful not to make your daily lives habitual.
Welcome home, brothers and sisters. Especially welcome home our new members. Thank you so much for everything, for helping them and receiving the wonderful actionizing program based on hoon dok hae. I believe we made history this time, establishing a certain system of education for our new members. One-day and two-day program, advanced education centering on hoon dok hae in Maryland, Washington and Virginia. Now we created the seven-day actionizing program. The next program will be a 21-day program, and 40-day. So let's build up the momentum of our witnessing. Today with thanks to them, I'd like to deliver my sermon, "The 1.5 generation."
I picked up Hyun-jin nim at the airport on Friday. On our way to the church he asked me, "How old are you? You look so young." He may think that I am as old as Rev. Schauffler, but we have 11 years difference in age. He told me many times, "You look so young." Brothers and sisters, I am 35, and Hyun-jin nim just turned 31. I guess he thinks I am young enough to come back to World CARP. Even at the dinner table he emphasized to me, "Why don't you join World CARP again?" I told him, "No, thank you. I want to work with Dr. Yang for building the church." His answer was "Great. Okay, please do whatever you want and be successful in your field." He encouraged me so much. So I am young, but I will stay here in the church with you. [Applause]
As a reference point, consider that the oldest second generation in Korea are one or two years younger than I am. I was reborn spiritually in 1981 during the wilderness course, and fought against the enemy of God, communism, with many of the oldest second generation. Fortunately we are still alive and have served as church leaders owing to God, True Parents and the merit of the age, especially the merit of the age, based on the foundation which you built.
Now some of those second generation are regional directors in Korea. Through working with them I have felt that my position in the providence represents the 1.5 generation, which is in between the first and second generations. Consequently, my role in the family church is to become the bridge between them. What does it mean? I guess Joshua and Caleb are examples of my position and role.
To understand the meaning of the 1.5 generation, let us take a look at the merits and limitations that the 1.5 generation has. I don't completely understand the heart and suffering of the first generation, including all of you. But I understand them more than the second generation does because I am also one of the first generation, strictly speaking. I may not feel the difficulty of second generation, even though I worked with them, but I could feel and see their struggles more than their parents did. Therefore, I am very much interested in helping second generation.
By the way, brothers and sisters, which generation are you in? I think all of you in the first generation in this transition period between the wilderness course and Canaan, we are also part of the 1.5 generation. Whether you like it or not, you are part of the 1.5 generation. Of course some of you are close to the second generation, 1.9 perhaps, but all of us are part of the 1.5 generation. You are 10 or 15 years older than I am physically, but we are facing the same challenges now as survivors of the wilderness course.
We should be a bridge to convey Father's tradition to our descendants through education and action. In other words, our first job is to pass on True Parents' tradition to the second generation. What I am talking about is that you and I are in the transition period between the wilderness course of the first generation, and the second generation settlement in Canaan. We are a bridge, the 1.5 generation. Do you agree?
Today we read from Father's words, which make us so serious. The first Israelites failed in the wilderness or in Canaan? They perished in Canaan. This makes us so serious. As the 1.5 generation, what do we have to do in the transition period from the wilderness course into Canaan, which is settlement? Let us be strong to take this responsibility for the future for passing on True Parents' tradition to our second generation. Otherwise we may perish like the first Israelites did.
Secondly, we need to be strong. Please keep in mind what God promised to Joshua and Caleb. "As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong." God said be strong. As the 1.5 generation, "Be strong and of good courage. For you shall call this people to inherit the land which I swore to their fathers to give them." As soon as God chose Joshua and Caleb as the 1.5 generation, he blessed them. "I will be with you as I was with Moses."
Therefore, brothers and sisters, the second point which we have to make as the 1.5 generation is to be strong. God will be with us. Also, we need to become young. If you think you are the first generation, please become 1.1. or 1.2. We need to become young. Then we can pass our job to our second generation and they can be strong also.
Some people say that faith walks out when fatigue walks in. Don't lose your dream. Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside of us when we live. Even Pres. Woodrow Wilson said we grow by our dreams. Dreamers see things in the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire on a long winter's evening. Some of us let those great dreams die, but others nourish and protect that dream. Nourish them through bad days until they bring them to the sunshine which comes to those who sincerely hope that their dreams will come true.
We have to grow through our dreams. If our dreams are gone, we will be tired and then fatigue comes to us and faith walks out. So brothers and sisters, as the 1.5 generation, let's pass our tradition to the second generation. Let's be strong like Joshua and Caleb and let's become young without having fatigue or losing our dream.
Let's complete our role as 1.5 generation in our church history. Father stated that on April 8th in 1997 the Unification Church, indeed all religions, had fulfilled their providential role. In that regard our activities should revolve around the family. Hence, we are the family church now. When I heard this news from Korea, I was so happy because I joined the church expecting that Father would declare the culmination or end of the Unification Church. My determination was, I wanted to be the last person to join the Unification Church. Therefore, I was so happy with Father's new declaration. We are moving into the era of family church now.
Let's look at church history a little bit. The reason for the wilderness course is to cleanse our fallen nature by paying indemnity. If the first Israel made the right condition in Egypt then they didn't have to go to Canaan or go through the wilderness course. It is clear in the Divine Principle. It was not predestined to go through the wilderness course if they had paid all the indemnity in Egypt. Therefore, we have to understand why they went through the wilderness course and why we need this kind of course. The reason is to cleanse fallen nature by paying indemnity.
This wilderness course had sometimes the grace of God, but sometimes it was the grace of Satan too. It was not so easy to describe passing through this course. You may remember that. The first priority in this course was to survive, looking at heaven and moving forward. Interestingly, Hyun jin nim mentioned similar things on Friday. To survive, they should absolutely obey orders. Someone is the general and the rest are foot soldiers. If ordered, they should move forward or die. That was the system during the wilderness course. They left everything behind - homes, friends, parents, relatives, money, power, education - in order to get one thing: to restore oneself. That was the meaning of the wilderness course.
In other words, the wilderness course could be called the time to divide, and then time to leave everything. And time to deny everything and time to move and march forward toward Canaan. That is the meaning of the wilderness course. Brothers and sisters, our wilderness course began with the failure of Christianity to accept the Messiah in 1945. What does Canaan mean? For the Israelites it meant the promised land, which is the new heaven and earth. It does not mean just a geographical area. It means God's sovereignty. Egypt and the wilderness course were in the satanic sovereignty, but Canaan is in God's sovereignty. Therefore, Canaan does not mean a geographical area. It means God's sovereignty.
Furthermore, Canaan does not mean that settlement in Canaan is much easier than passing through the wilderness course, as Father mentioned. You may be depressed by these words. He said this settlement is much more difficult than the wilderness course is. But brothers and sisters, please don't be distressed. We have hope to build the kingdom. During the wilderness time we only had a dream and couldn't see the kingdom. But now we can make our dream come true in Canaan, even though it's more difficult than life in the wilderness. Therefore, Canaan does not mean a much easier way than the wilderness.
The course of Joshua shows us how difficult it might be. It is so meaningful to read the final action before his death. If we look at the Bible, before he died he gathered all the tribes at Sikkim and he renewed the covenant before them. That was his final action. In his speech he said, please don't serve foreign small gods. Do not commit adultery, and don't love material things. Those are the three things he asked the second generation. Don't serve foreign gods, don't commit adultery and don't love material things. It shows what we have to do first.
Let me give you a simple summary. You can see our position as the 1.5 generation between the wilderness course and settlement in Canaan. The position was in the wilderness course and the central figure was the first generation. But in the settlement course the central figure is the second generation. The goal is passing through the wilderness, and then in the settlement in Canaan building the kingdom. In terms of the situation in the wilderness course, it is like life and death. Father went to jail six times. It was a leader-centered time; they were like generals. I remember one of the former pastors gave a sermon and mentioned, "I was cooked by seven Korean leaders. Each Korean cook had a different taste." I don't know if they were good or bad cooks.
In the past it was leader-centered and we had to deny ourselves everything. You may remember Rev. Kim. When I went to California, he put signs on all the rooms "Self denial." That was the slogan of the wilderness course. It was precious, a covenant at that time. The priority was paying indemnity.
What is the situation in the settlement era? We need to find a quality of life rather than life or death. Rather than jail we need to find true freedom with responsibility. Now it is a member-centered movement. And self-reliance rather than self-denial. And the family pledge is the new covenant. Our priority is establishing the heavenly tradition. That is the comparison between the wilderness course and the settlement in Canaan.
I believe that our church has played a main role in the wilderness course, just like the Ark of the Covenant was the center of God's kingdom until the second generation entered Canaan and built sovereignty there. But we, the third Israel, are now in the settlement period. So family-centered activities play a more important role in the providence. That is where this family church should go. We have to change our concept of church and have to prepare the time of Family Federation soon.
Would you like the headache of changing, or the heartache of not changing? Somebody said that no change is impossible. Some change is impractical. Most change is uncomfortable, but every change has consequence. Therefore, family church is the root and core of the Family Federation nowadays as the body of True Parents. So our vision statement is "We are a community of faith working together to expand true love by living and teaching the ideal of True Parents." This is our vision to build the family church in this area in the transition period.
For this mission we may sometimes seem more separated physically because the base of this is our family. That is why we must meet together for fellowship and further train to move toward the settlement age. The mission of our family church is to support our families, to accomplish, to fulfill your vision and our vision.
So brothers and sisters, how can we, the 1.5 generation, make our church a tool for God's providence? I believe we have to improve eight elements in our church. First, we need to empower leadership. The Bible says, prepare God's people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be victorious. Interestingly, however, 95% of leaders fail to raise up and develop other effective leaders, even outside of this church. As tribal messiahs we want to empower your authority and leadership. We need this kind of empowering leadership in the family church.
Second, gift-oriented personal ministry. Church development means that everyone serves in the place where God has called him or her to be. Where there is progress in this area, the church experiences the body of True Parents, functioning according to God's plan. Therefore, we would like to empower this point also, a gift-oriented ministry. Please find your gift, why God called you to this movement. You should be where God called you to be.
Third, passionate spirituality. One of the interesting things is that the secret of growing churches is definitely not found in a particular style of spirituality, but in the realm of passion at which faith is lived out among its members. The point is that the level of passion, brothers and sisters, makes a church grow. The Bible says, never be lacking in cheer, but keep your personal fervor in serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. Don't lose your spiritual power, spiritual fire. It doesn't matter whether you do morning or night hoon dok hae, or fasting like Gen. Kim - today is her 21st day of a 40-day fast. Not all of us can do that, but please have a passion of spirituality. The level of passion will make the church different.
Fourth, functional structures and organization. For many people who are spiritually motivated, this issue is not taken seriously enough, but we need external forms to contain the spirit, heart and mind. We need functional structures.
Fifth, inspiring worship service. Nobody else but the Holy Spirit should be the one who inspires people. I believe that. At the same time, brothers and sisters, we need a gift-oriented, inspired team because they are the cornerstone of an inspiring worship service. This includes a sermon, music, welcoming visitors, ushers, and so on. But another important aspect to an inspiring service is attendance, participation. Don't be late. Please be here 10 minutes early, brothers and sisters. Your heart of attendance to come here 10 minutes before service starts will make our service different. Do you believe that? In order to make an inspiring service, come early and join the music ministry, welcoming guest ministry, or whatever you can do.
In the early church, members broke bread in the homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. I would encourage you to spend time with people, to know their problems. And spend time with God to solve the problems through small groups.
Sixth, need-oriented evangelism, or witnessing to people based on their needs, near our homes, near our workplaces. Of course we can also find people on the streets, but the best witnessing place is near your home and workplace.
Seventh, we need loving relationships, so that the relationships in our church are characterized by a higher degree of love and affection. Even a small action for your neighbor, for your brothers and sisters speaks more than words. I recently received an anonymous letter that accused someone. This is not working toward building loving relationships. As a family of God, a community of faith, you need guts to bring this kind of topic up with your name. If you don't include your name, I will throw out such a note. I don't want to listen to that kind of accusation without your name. It doesn't help at all as a family of God. If you sign your name then please send me the letter and I will consider the situation.
In order to build loving relationships, brothers and sisters, we need a certain role. One more thing is, don't complain without suggesting a solution. I believe that true love can be built with loving relationships.
In conclusion, let's not be too ambitious to do everything in the eight elements. Let's work step by step. Remember, each person in the second generation will actually build and live in the kingdom and Canaan. Therefore, let's do the best we can and find the reason God chose you and what God wants you to do in your personal ministry. Respect each other as members of the spiritual body of True Parents and our community of faith.
Our small staff for the first half of 2000, in this transition period, has seven priorities up to July 1st:
These seven priorities have been made based on your suggestions and the team's desires, and based on empowering the eight factors for church growth. As the 1.5 generation, what do we have to do? Pass on the tradition to the second generation. Be strong and be young to build a new and health church. Thank you so much.