Cheon Seong Gyeong: Episode 288
Cheon Seong Gyeong Book 9: Home Church and the Tribal Messiah
Chapter 3: The Mission of a Church Leader
Section 4: Giving Sermons that Move Hearts, 04-12
(4) How can you travel around, going here and there for twelve months of the year, and casually go up to the pulpit saying, "Brothers and sisters, let us sing hymns," then speak about how Father is such and such, and then pray? If you act like that, the heavenly nation will never be realized and people will never be resurrected. Look at a mother in labor when she is giving birth to her baby. Doesn't she go through so much pain, feeling as if she is about to burst, with her face contorted in so many ways? If a mother goes through so much when giving birth to her physical baby, you have to be more serious than that to give birth to your spiritual children. When you leave the pulpit, you should be sweating and in tears.
(5) Spiritual leaders cannot do their work without having spiritual experiences. They should not prepare their sermons by reading books. Do you see God when you read books? Is God in the midst of those books? No, He is not. Because God dwells in a mysterious spiritual realm, you have to connect with Him through the Holy Spirit. Faith is most precious if it includes spiritual experiences. Therefore, people who join the Unification Church usually have such spiritual experiences. In fact, they must have these experiences. These kinds of phenomena are very real. If you truly offer all your devotion for the Will, Heaven will be with you.
(6) I have such a direct and close relationship with God, I have no need to worry about preparing my sermons. You too need to train yourself to be like this. Sometimes I have to meet and speak with famous people, even up to ten times in a day. I must talk about a different topic each time, depending on the occasion. But do I prepare my speech every time? At such times, I am fully aware that I am an offering. I have no concept of "I" or "me" or "mine." I am in the position of a total offering. It is a very solemn position. It is a heavenly principle that people standing in front of an offering should bow their heads. God is present at the altar and exercises His dominion there. You should think, "Before this altar today, I offer all my heartfelt passion, all my strength and all my effort." Then you open your mouth and speak with greater sincerity than ever before in your life. When you do, God will help you. An offering is made from a serious position.
(7) Do not think lightly about the sermon you are going to give on Sunday. Do not just say, "Where in the Bible shall I read from? What hymns shall we sing? Bring out the hymns! Bring out the Holy Songs!" Base your sermons on your knowledge of people; use real life experiences and relate them to comparable passages in the Bible. Give an interesting sermon that compares personal experiences with the content of the Bible. Then listeners will be captivated. Since your sermon relates to them, they will like it. Do not attempt to prepare your sermon by reading books. Even books come from people. People themselves are the originators of books.
(8) One memory continues to linger in my heart. When I was being taken to the labor camp in Hungnam, I had to trudge along a stream through a valley, chained to thieves. That memory is still so vivid. I cannot forget the time we walked along that winding path in the valley. It left a strong impression on me. Those steps were heading toward a different world. I really wondered, "In the future, what paths will I have to walk each day? After serving my time in prison, what will I need to do? What should I do during my prison life?" It was going to be difficult, but I was ready to go there. Actually, that time was a good opportunity to come to a new realization about myself. That is why this memory stays with me.
(9) Once I worked on digging a tunnel at Hungnam. As I worked, I became so hungry that I could hardly lift up my pickax, and so completely exhausted that I was on the verge of losing consciousness. After going on like that, you cannot imagine how happy I was when I heard, "Time for lunch!" What a feeling in that moment when I threw the pickax on the ground and turned around to eat! I have countless stories like that in my life. I have been through indescribable suffering. However, you need to understand that all those miserable situations did not destroy me; instead, they will shine throughout history. That is why I am saying you should keep going on, collecting stories that God can cherish as treasures. When you open up and tell the people of the world the true stories of your sufferings and tribulations, in just ten minutes you can move them to wail in tears. It will be far more effective than a one-hour sermon on another topic. Where can you find a sermon topic better than this? That is why I am telling you not to worry and, until you are thirty, go through as many hardships as possible.
(10) When you give a sermon, do not just decide on the title and then get up to speak. The basic standard is that you should select the title in prayer. You cannot move people with a sermon based on a prepared title. If you want to make people cry, you should shed tears in prayer before the sermon. When you pray, you should be thinking about all the kinds of people who might come that day. You should also be thinking about the situation in Korea and how to improve it. Then you will be able to foresee, "Today, these types of people will be coming." Bearing all this in mind and having prayed tearfully, when you come to the pulpit you will be able to move your audience to tears. If you have written a letter with tears, it can make the recipient cry. In the same way, you should become a motivating force in the position of the subject partner in heart. Without doing that yourself, expecting others to shed tears is unreasonable. Therefore, when you go to the pulpit you should know that it is a court of judgment. If you are unable to improve despite your efforts, you need to repent. If you are unable to inspire others in an hour-long sermon, you should repent for three hours. If you deliver a poor sermon and cannot inspire the people, you have to repent three times more than that.
(11) As a leader, you should listen carefully to your members when they share their situations. You need to take notes about their testimony and know how to use it as material that can be helpful for everyone. If a member has moved your heart, make the lesson of their testimony the topic of the Sunday sermon. Pray about that topic and convey your inspirations to the members. Always live in attendance to Heaven. Your sermon should never be focused on yourself. If you refer to books to prepare your sermon, Heaven will not work through you. Your sermon will fall flat. The seed of life comes from Heaven. It does not come from people or their knowledge. That is why you must shed tears before you give a sermon. Only by shedding tears and taking the position of a parent can you bring the children to repentance. In order to make others shed tears, you should first open the gate of tears. Your tears open the gate of their tears. Only if you open that gate can they finally shed tears. Only if you shed tears of repentance can the gate of repentance open for others.
(12) Always think that you are indebted. A person who thinks this way is public-minded. This is because you have not taken full responsibility and others have had to, on your behalf. As you look around at the congregation, think, "As I was not able to do the job right, my members are doing it for me." Up to now, I have been bearing the suffering that the entire Unification Church membership had to endure. But from now on members will have to face all kinds of incidents, one by one, at all levels—the individual, family, tribe, nation, and even the world. I have been through a difficult course, but now all members throughout the world must face their own challenges. From this perspective, we share a common destiny. It is a serious matter that the spirit world is directly listening to the words of those who are guiding the members for a public purpose. This should not be taken lightly. It is the same for me. When something good happens to you, before talking about it or laughing with joy, first think of Heaven. Likewise, when you face sorrow, first think of Heaven. When you face something sorrowful, if you can say, "I am suffering on behalf of Heaven," you can bravely go beyond that sorrow.