For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. (Acts 13:47)
Hello, brothers and sisters all around the world.
God has helped our mission throughout 2016 and has worked for our mission for many years.
The biggest grace he has allowed us is that there are a lot of people in the world but he has saved us from our sins first and has kept us here for God to work within us in 2017
When I became 50 years old, I thought, “What if I could live for only 10 years more?”
That is why the year I turned 50, I planned to live for 10 more years and began to arrange everything.
But for the 10 years I lived, God blessed me a lot and did not take me away.
Although now I became 70 years, God still gave me a chance to work.
In Korean age, I will be 74 and I am living an unbelievable life.
My father passed away when he was 70 and King David also died when he was 70.
David became king when he was 30 and lived as a king for 40 years.
Just before his death, the king had no strength and was lying in bed most of the time.
That is why people like Adonijah came and was trying to be king.
Actually, in the year of 1999, I had a heart problem and it was difficult to withstand that year.
Now I am 74, but God gave me really good health that I don’t have any problem riding planes and travelling around the world.
In the year of 2016, there were many changes to our ministers.
It became a huge joy to us as many ministers came out of themselves and were being used before God with a new heart.
As we face 2017, there is something I want to say from my heart.
The life in God is a huge blessing which is indescribable by words.
This blessing is not given to anyone.
God has decided to give this blessing to only people who have faith.
One day, there was a widow of Zarephath.
There was no rain for 3 years and 6 months and there was no food.
She had only a handful of flour to her.
She thought that if she starved further, she wouldn’t get a chance to even eat it so she decided to make bread from it, eat and die with her son.
In order to make fire, she went out of the gate of the city to pick up some sticks to use to make bread.
But that is when she met Prophet Elijah.
Elijah said he wanted a little water so she went to fetch water.
But what he said was not simply to bring him water but also a morsel of bread.
She replied saying she had no cake in her house but a handful of meal in a barrel and a little oil and she will pick up the sticks, make bread, eat and die with her son.
But Elijah said, “Fear not, go and do as you have said but make me a little cake first, bring it to me and after make for you and your son.
For thus said the Lord God of Israel, the barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.”
Here, there are two barrels of meal. One has a handful of meal which can be seen in the barrel but the other one has full meal in the barrel but it is seen only by people with faith.
That is why a person with faith will obviously choose the barrel full of meal, make cake, and continue to have cake.
But a person without faith will say, “Where is the barrel full of meal? There is only a handful in the barrel and I will take this.”
This is how spiritual life is.
With the eyes of faith, we cannot compare the life I live for myself and when God does it for me.
I am very thankful when I think about myself; I am not someone who is special or has faith.
I am someone who is doubtful and that is why I cannot easily believe anything.
But although I could not believe anything else, I could believe God.
I decided to believe neither what I see nor this world but only the world seen by God.
Therefore, I lived by faith in God.
In 1994, I was supposed to die because my heart was not well.
If God did not help, I had to die.
Until August 1994, my body was as good as dead.
But, in August, God cured me totally.
When my heart was cured, my liver became good and so did my stomach.
Not only did my body become good but God continued to open doors in front of me.
As we enter into 2017, there is something I really want to say.
If the widow of Zarephath did not want to lose this handful of meal, being unable to have faith to see the barrel full of meal, and chose the handful of meal, she could have died.
If she had seen with eyes without faith, she might have thought, “If there is no meal again after giving this to Elijah, it will be a loss to us.”
What is important is that God does not lie.
What’s even more important thing is that people who believe in God also believe the words of the servant of God.
God did not speak directly to the widow but spoke through his servant.
Many people say that although I believe God, I cannot believe in the servants of God.
The bible says, ‘Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.’ (Amos 3:7)
If you experience loss by believing in the servants of God then He will compensate all.
If you believe God, you also have to believe His servants.
There are so many people these days who are saved and living spiritual life as if holding onto a handful of meal in a barrel. They are unable to see with faith as the widow of Zarephath even though they will be 100th and 1000th times more blessed if they live for the Lord.
Now when we see Acts chapter 13, there is the church of Antioch.
The prophets were gathered praying, and the spirit of God said to separate Barnabas and Saul.
That is why Barnabas and Saul were sent separately by God to Cyprus.
In Cyprus, there was the wonderful work of God in which the governor was saved.
Despite the wonderful work of the governor receiving salvation, Mark and John fell into trial and returned to Jerusalem.
Paul starts from Antioch church and goes to Cyprus to preach the gospel. And then, he takes a ship from Paphos and sails to Antioch in Pisidia.
It is the same Antioch but not the one in Israel but in Pisidia and Paul preaches the gospel there.
In Acts chapter 13 verse 44, it is written ‘And the next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.’
Almost the whole city of Antioch in Pisidia gathered together to listen to the words of Paul.
I do not know how they were able to gather and preach to all those people.
I don’t think there was huge gymnasium, broadcasting facility, nor microphone.
But Paul started to preach the gospel.
The Jews there disturb Paul and in verse 45, it is written, ‘But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spoke against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.’
At that time, Paul did not fall into trial saying, “Why are the Jews disturbing us when we are preaching the words of God?”
When Paul was preaching the gospel in Antioch in Pisidia, almost all the people gathered to listen to the words, and the Jews came contradicting, blaspheming and disturbing.
Paul did not say, “Why are there people disturbing us when we are preaching the gospel? Let’s just go rest.”
Instead, Paul said, “Now it is time for us to preach to the gentiles.”
In the history of the Good News Mission, there was the year 1989.
In the year 1988, there was the Olympics in Korea.
The motto of the Olympics was ‘the World to Seoul and Seoul to the World.’
People all over the world gathered in Seoul for the Olympics and ‘the World to Seoul’ part was really successful.
At that time, my son was in middle school, and I remember going to see the Olympics with my son.
And then it became 1989. The motto was ‘the World to Seoul and Seoul to the World’ but although the world gathered in Seoul because of the Olympics, Seoul did not go to the world.
This was not possible because Korea was very poor back then so the government did not make passports for people.
The government thought that if they made passports for people, they will travel abroad and waste money.
At that time, the people given passports were only diplomats and presidents of huge companies.
Passports were not made for ordinary people in the country.
But God wanted us to spread the gospel we have to the entire world. Afterward, one of the many reforms of President Roh Tae-woo was the promise to make people passports.
In March 1989, the government of the Republic of Korea announced that they will make passports for people who are above 45 years of age.
At that time I was over 45 so, I was issued a passport.
In the beginning, I went to LA in the states and then to Berlin in Germany to hold a bible seminar.
That is how I went abroad for the first time in March 1989.
From March 1989, we decided to send missionaries all over the world to preach the gospel.
Back then, our Good News Mission had about 30 churches in Korea and there were only about 30 ministers.
Yet, we dispatched as many missionaries as possible abroad.
But amazing miracles happened.
Korea was always a poor country. We had small limited land that we lacked food for our own people even after farming.
We began to dispatch missionaries in 1989 and after about 5 years later in 1994, we sent our first missionary to Africa.
From the day we began overseas mission, amazing miracles began to take place.
Korea was famous for being the poorest country in the world’s history of poverty.
Although Korea used all its land to farm, ¼ of the people were in shortage of food.
It was a really poor country, but Korea began to become wealthy.
In the year 1990s, we properly began to dispatch missionaries.
We sent hundreds of missionaries all around the world.
Our country has no petroleum, underground resources, and small land, but from the day we began mission abroad, Korea began to prosper.
People do not know this very well. People think Korea became wealthier because people are hardworking and smart.
There was a time when US sent missionaries all over the world.
US was still a small country that had just gained independence, but they became the greatest country in the world since they began sending missionaries abroad.
Korea received the baton of US sending missionaries.
Now, Koreans are in all the places where there used to be US missionaries.
Our mission branch is in 200 places across the world.
From that time onwards, God blessed Korea very much.
Things we eat changed, our lifestyles changes, we became wealthy, and we changed into a country of blessing.
Before receiving salvation at the age of 19, I was the most lacking person among my peers.
As I worked for the gospel, I was incapable but I saw God bless my country and me.
Although I take the plane for 20~30 hour flight, I do not realize that I am tired.
God gave me a healthy body.
The books written by a person such as myself all became bestsellers and are being sold a lot.
The Gracias Choir we formed became the world’s best and Christian leaders all over the world are surprised by the gospel we have.
I am an incapable person but for as long as I live for the gospel, God gives me a healthy body, supports me financially, and opens ways.
Nowadays, the door to the world is opening up not only through IYF or Gracias Choir but also through mind education.
Recently, I met the prime minister of Ethiopia. I was just passing by Ethiopia on my visit to Africa when I met the Minister of Education of Ethiopia.
I told him that although the students of Ethiopia now seem docile, because the economy of Ethiopia is developing very fast, the students will become violent as the economy grows.
Not long after, the students rose up and demonstrated against the government.
The government personnel were surprised and said they did not know their students could be this violent. The Minister of Education I met received salvation at that time.
After receiving salvation, the Prime Minister began to value this Minister and kept him by his side.
When I visited Ethiopia this time for two days after my visit to India, the Minister of Education spoke to the Prime Minister.
‘Pastor Ock Soo Park said the problem of youth will become serious in the future.” The Prime Minister was surprised by these words and he invited me to the Prime Minister’s official residence.
When I spoke to him regarding youths, he said, “you have come exactly at the right time when our country needs you.”
I asked him to give us a building for us to work and also land for us to work.
And we said we also need people at working level to work otherwise, nothing will happen even if we might meet with the Prime Minister or the President.
When I met with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, the Minister of Youth and the Minister of Education advised, “Do everything as Pastor Ock Soo Park says.”
This is how God opened the door in each country we visited.
In the beginning, the works of the gospel seemed difficult to me.
I thought, “Can a person like me do this?”
But every time we worked, I saw how the precious hands of God were helping us.
Before, I used to be the most lacking person among my peers, but now, there is no one who is as happy as I am and no one living a life as blessed as I am.
Paul and Barnabas are now departing from Antioch and are going forward by the guidance of God.
Paul and Barnabas preached in Antioch in Pisidia and the Jews distracted them.
Paul said, ‘God must be telling us to preach to the gentiles now.’
He realized this was not simply a disturbance of Jews but God opening the ways for him to preach to gentiles.
From that time onwards, Paul began to preach to gentiles and we can see how God worked amazingly.
Pastor Young Joo Park said he lived half of the year abroad.
Even in 2017, we plan to preach the gospel to gentiles all over the world.
In Acts chapter 13 verse 47, ‘For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.’
Through us, God has opened the ways to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth and to the gentiles.
When we join hearts in preaching to gentiles and to the world, just as God gave the widow of Zarephath a never-ending great barrel of meal when she did not eat the handful of meal for herself but gave it to the servant of God, I want to tell this to everyone in our Good News Mission who is now facing 2017.
Will you throw away the never-ending big barrel of meal because you are unable to give the precious handful of meal?
Do not be afraid but believe in God.
God promised that He will give that great barrel of meal when you give that handful of meal to Him, and he did according to His word.
Satan is deceiving us so that we keep that handful of meal and die by giving us thoughts such as, ‘working for the gospel will give me difficulty,’ ‘I will become poor,’ ‘I will suffer,’ ‘it will be hard,’ ‘I have no faith,’ and ‘this is why I can’t do it.’
There are still many people in Good News Mission who are unable to let go of that handful of meal and receive a great barrel of it during the famine because they are scared.
Now, everyone in Good News Mission, let us believe in God.
Put down the way that I am expecting with my thoughts, and give your life into the hands of God.
When you give a handful of meal, you will be able to have a barrel full of meal that will be able to save my family, relatives, and many people around me as well as myself.
The bible says, ‘For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.’
That’s correct. If the widow of Zarephath lived on with the handful of meal, she would have starved to death.
But when she gave this to God, she rejoiced as she received a never-ending big barrel of meal and saved many people from the famine.
As God gave the barrel to widow, when we put down the little complacent things that make only myself comfortable and give them into the hands of God, He is going to fulfill the miracle of saving my son, my family, my relatives and many dying people around us through the never-ending barrel of meal.
Just as God worked for the widow of Zarephath, God plans to give us the barrel full of meal which we can’t see but can save many people.
For this, give the little barrel of meal you have to God.
I gave myself to the Lord, I gave my family to the Lord, and I gave everything to the Lord.
I thought I was poor and in difficulty because I believe in God, but as my books are being sold very well, God made me financially adequate.
And when I did not use money for myself but for the gospel, God opened the doors for us to preach the gospel to the ends of this earth and gave us the happiness of sharing this salvation to people.
Satan will speak to you, “After giving this handful of meal, if you do not receive the barrel full of meal back then it’s simply your loss.
Don’t give it, just eat it by yourself.”
We don’t know how many times Satan might have said this to the widow of Zarephath, but the widow did not listen to Satan and listened to the words of the servant of God.
Until now, we have been foolishly holding onto this handful of meal and been afraid to give it away.
The widow gave this to the man of God and gained the great barrel of meal that saved her family, relatives, and neighbors.
In the year 2017, God has commanded us saying, “I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.”
He has given us such a beautiful blessing, but you have to give yourself to the Lord to receive this blessing.
We have been given the blessing of being able to give our handful of meal to God to fill my hunger as well as our son’s, our family, our relatives, and everyone around us.
Before we are given this blessing, God checks if we believe Him or not.
If you believe God, you can give that handful of meal without the slightest doubt.