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Reflections After the Alaska Earthquake

David Shin


Pastor David shares some reflections following the Alaska earthquake.


David Shin

Pastor, Hillside O'Malley Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Anchorage, AK



  • December 1, 2018
    11:30 AM
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Yesterday after the earthquake I decided to jump in the car and fill my gas tank and as soon as I got on the O'Malley I was like oh everybody else has the same idea and it was bumper to bumper traffic and as I was sitting in my car on Abbott never seen it like that before. And I did a lot of time to think and reflect I think it took me 2 hours to get gas going out and coming back. So you know you're in the car just doing nothing and I just started reflect on life I tend to get kind of philosophical in these moments don't you and there are certain times in your life that you have an awakening and I think yesterday was one of those moments right you you come to this time when things are crystallized to what is essential and what is core and what is peripheral Sometimes we get all bent out of shape over little things and yesterday it was like Lord save me. Lord save my family and you didn't know what was going to happen next especially when the tsunami warning came all of these cars were headed up the hillside I don't know if you saw that but it was back to back traffic coming up the hill side and you could see in people's eyes as I tried to get into Home Depot but they said there's no way and but I could see in the staff's eyes there was a look of. This is not business as usual and uncertainty and we we as human beings we like security and yesterday was a reminder how fragile our earthly security really is right just in a few seconds everything that we hold onto as our security can be taken away just like that and the question is What do you hang on to then what he hang on to then and I don't wish for another earthquake but. But this is an opportunity isn't it for us to reflect on our lives and to to ask the fundamental core of questions of what is important. So I changed my message after that wakeup call yesterday and I got very little sleep last night and so these are some reflections this morning in some themes that have been in my mind for a little bit of time and I pray that through this opportunity that we have in the aftermath of what took place yesterday that all of us could be reflective and and think about life's most important questions. Some 90 verse 10 through 12 this is a sum of Moses and he says the days of our lives are 70 years and if by reason of strength they are 80 years yet their boast is only labor and sorrow for it is soon cut off and we fly away who knows the power of your anger for the fear of you so is your wrath so teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of understanding Moses is reflecting on life and he says Life is short life is finite we need to budget our life we need to count the late how we are going to spend our life our time and this is an interesting statistic that I came across in regards to where we spend our time it says for the average American that leaves college at 22 and lives to be 70 I'm just using this as a statistic here the 48 year adult Lyme span can be broken down into a few key activities sort of from 22 to 7048 years during that time you will spend on average 16 years working that's nonstop without any breaks for eating sleeping or vacationing you will spend 15 years sleeping. The next biggest drain on your time is a shocker it's media you can spend up to 8 years watching T.V. on the Internet and other sources of media you can spend up to 4 years eating. And then 2 years commuting for the average American and then it went on to say that when all these activities are subtracted you will have less than 4 years to do what you desire to do like spend time with a spouse or loved one time with the children and grandchildren outings and ends and it goes on to say that this is approximately 112th of your life a maximum of 5 minutes every hour Tragically most of that time will be postponed to a period called retirement when many people no longer enjoy the health needed to live life to the fullest. Life is short and after you take out 16 years working 15 years sleeping 8 years on social media or television I hope not you take away all of these elements and you have very little time to do what you actually want to do the Bible reflects on the brevity of life it says for what is your life it is like a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away James 414 as for man his days are lying grass as a flower of the field so he flourishes for the wind passes over it and it is gone and its place remembers it no more and the Reverend Billy Graham before he passed away said the greatest surprise to me is the brevity of life the brevity of life life is short my grandmother before she passed away visited our home and took the opportunity to sit me down she said. Sit right here and I said OK sat down. And she said let me tell you about my life and this is one of those moments that was I will always treasure her passing on her legacy in a way her story she told the story of how she fled North Korea to South Korea with a diaper bag and my mother that's it and a bible penniless after the war then went to Japan as missionaries and then to America and she worked her fingers to the bone to support her family and finally she said that when she came to the place when she could finally take a breath and say. Now I can relax she looked in the Mir and she was almost 80 years old and she looked at me and said David. You're lucky you're lucky and she said take advantage of the gift you've been given Ecclesiastes is Chapter 7 verse 2 says better to go to the house of mourning then to Dallas of feasting for that is the end of all men and the living will take it to heart there are certain moments in which our life tends to crystallize and our values seem to emerge and yesterday was one of those moments when you suddenly have a distilled lation of of values I was talking at the conference President yesterday right before he made his public announcement about the Alaska conference and he told me David it's interesting because here we are arguing about policy and suddenly we have an earthquake and we suddenly realize what's really important a man. And I had the privilege of going to Africa a number of years ago and this is me and my friend Chester you can see see that we're very excited to be there says one of our ride said we had been in the van and we were in this Toyota van. Going around a blind corner on the wrong side of the road as a local driver who is very very good and we're going around this corner and I'm just bracing myself for a head on collision and I turned to Chester in the midst of the of that corner and I said Chester I said we're going to die I'm very dramatic right I said Chester we are going to die in Africa we are going to die I'm just waiting for that impact and he turned to me very sympathetic by the way he turned to me and he said David if we die we die. Like thanks a lot man you know and it was it was one of those things and Anyways I got bitten by mosquitoes a lot told the story a little bit before and they seemed to like me more than anybody else well it's all over my body came back to America and it was around December in Virginia and I started getting these flu like symptoms and there's a flu bug going around so I thought it was just classic cold flu and went on for 6 days finally and went to my parents and told them something's wrong this is not this is not normal so I go to the hospital and the doctor that had been on duty that night happened to have been a missionary to Africa so he took one look at me and said David. I'm not going to even wait for the blood test to come back he said at the top of my list is malaria. Malaria and I found out very quickly what malaria was a mosquito bites you and takes your blood and leaves a gift he leaves a parasite that goes into your bloodstream and then into your red blood cells actually incubates in your liver for a little bit and then they go into red blood cells and then they they infiltrate and they multiply and then when they get to a certain tipping point that red blood cell burps and I found out later that I had a fatal form of malaria there's. In buybacks or vivax I forget the name of it one of them reoccurs I didn't get that one I got the one that that kills you it doesn't reoccur and. I had that one and he told me he said look I'm not going to take a chance with this because if it is falciparum people die around day 6 and I'm sitting there like really and talk about a wake up call and I'm sitting there just with my sweat drenched robe with the doctors sitting there with his clipboard and my parents with their concerned eyes and I thought at that moment this could be my last day talk about a distillation of values because I had a conversation with God I'm like God I want to get married in you know I mean all down through these things and then suddenly got distilled to my relationship with God and my relationship with people that's it those are the 2 values that emerged and that's why Solomon said these words that it's better to go to the house of mourning. Then to the house of a wedding because there's something about a funeral that forces us to grapple with our own mortality to grapple with what is essential and what is not essential better to go to a house in the morning then to the house of feasting for that is the end of all men and the living will take it to heart oh by the way I I obviously made it right people I always asked me what happened and. So. Yes the miracle of miracles the. Quinine they gave me was just in time the drug was actually worse had worse symptoms than the malaria itself lost a lot of brain cells so if you're wonder what happened that's that's. And. So I have the healthcare official for that district give me a call personally and he said David. You are lucky and I told him it's not luck you know he said you are lucky because if you hadn't met any other doctor they would have prescribe to you some flu remedy and you'd probably be dead today and so it was one of those one of those wake up situations there and I it's interesting the the psychology of what takes place on a plane. I went out to sell awake last 2 weekends ago and I was an experience all itself. I did a layover in Kotzebue in the airport if you can call it that. And then this guy comes out with this reflector vest and says goes through the manifest and says Oh David are you are you come in and I said yeah no ID check no nothing that come up so I get it and I'm like in that thing and it says Little's 6 seater one engine plane I'm not from Alaska I'm used to these I was like oh wow so I crawl in right behind the pilot seat and then the same guy that I thought was like the attendant Oh the receptionist crawls over the wing into the pilot's seat and he says kind of bumpy out there here's the bag if you can you know in past that and I'm like whoa and he says bumpy and so we take off and I'm like oh lord. If I die here remember I'm here like doing ministry you know just please like present remember that part you know and then and then we land and you know when it's bad when the natives are nervous you know it's bad you know so we're demanding and we go into this skid on the cell awake runway and the natives are like whoa and I saw this this is bad this is bad he gets it straightened out and I'm like I am I thought to myself you know we're Tandy Perkins here from from our technicians I said why did I ever open my mouth to our technicians to go on this thing anyways that so I'll tell that story another time about about my experience there but there are certain moments that you that you just realize you have this coming to Jesus moment and airplanes are one of those moments in which when you start having a little bit of turbulence everyone starts getting religious you know the movie screen goes off and everyone starts saying their prayers I think of September 11th and the circumstances that took place there was a 10 year anniversary. They recorded on Story Corps of taking testimonials of individuals that were. Families that were left behind from 911 in there was this one. Widow who told her story that are husband worked on one of the towers and he gave her a phone call and said Honey you need turn on the television turn on television and she turned on television and he said I'm above the explosion and I tried every exit and I don't think I'm going to make it. And she said that they had a period of time on that phone call where they had this moment together and they finally got to the place where they didn't know when the final and would be and they said they just kept repeating to each other I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU and then silence and she said she just wish she could crawl through the phone and hold her husband in those last moments in her account she didn't want to go to sleep that night because as long as she stayed awake she felt like it was going to be the last day with her husband one quotation says if we discovered that we only had 5 minutes left to say all that we wanted to say every cell phone would be occupied by people calling other people to stammer that we love that. Is not true when you're about to die instinctively there's 2 things that you want to do pray and call your loved ones to stammer those 3 words I love you. I why is that I mean we don't call them and say like you know remember to deposit my 4 and one K. into this account and you know it's like that's not in our you know maybe that's later or you know but but but it's not is make sure you wash my car it's not like that it's relational I love you and it's unfortunate that it takes a catastrophic event sometimes for us to tell our loved ones those 3 words doesn't have to be like that. The famous businessman Lee Iacocca said here I am in the twilight years of my life still wondering what it's all about and I can tell you this fame and fortune is for the birds interesting Lee enough Coco said if I had to do it all over again he would spend more time with his late wife and his children relationships people as we. Reflect further on this reality of the end of life Blaise Pascal said I've learned to define life backwards and live it forwards and Jesus said in John Chapter 5 years 2829 do not marvel at this for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear his voice and come forth those who have done good to the resurrection of life and those who have done evil to the resurrection of condemnation no later in Revelation Chapter 20 The Bible separates these 2 resurrections indicating that they're separated by 1000 years so there's 2 resurrections a resurrection of life and a resurrection for the wicked 2 resurrections everyone is going to be at one of those 2 realities and according to Revelation chapter 20 you have the rebel resurrection of life and the resurrection of what we call damnation or the resurrection of the way good in which you have not eternal burning but eternal non existence which is also merciful to eternal nonexistence Now we often think of of death in certain terms and there's a reason why the Bible calls death a sleep the Bible says death is like a sleep there's a metaphor involved death is not exactly sleep but dad has some characteristics that are like sleep. When you have a good night's rest not like last night you know when you're facing every waking up every whatever Not like last night but when you have a good night's rest and you hit that pillow I love that you know I cherish it even more after we had our newborn son you know and I was like What did I do with all my time before that and like what I do my sleep time is so you hit your pillow and then this is just glorious you know it is becoming rarer and rarer but that you hit that pillow and it's like. Am and the next thing you know you're waking up right when's the last time you slept. OK but but you have had that experience or like surgery knocked out you know when I had my wisdom teeth taken Al is like knocked out and I wake up like a chipmunk you know and the Bible says death is like asleep so if we die or I should say when we die from our standpoint it is like instantaneous So let's say I'm on a plane it crashes and I'm like I The next moment. The next moment I know the next moment I realize in that instant in that flash of like aha the next time I open my eyes I'm either going to wake up here or here except I won't know how much time has transpired I'm not going to know all the nice things that people hopefully say about me and my funeral and memorial service right I'm going to miss all of that duration I'm going to miss all the time instantly from my conscience as I'm going to wake up hopefully at the 1st resurrection the 2nd coming of Jesus so flash ah and then you see clouds you see the. Billions of Angels in feeling the sky and you look around and you're like oh I must of died you go from being on Alaskan airline flight on a tram A ties you are right. All right Alaskan airline flight to cloud 2nd coming you're like oh no I must have died. And then you look around lounge and you're like praise God I'm on the right side I'm on the right resurrection how lujah and then look look out look out fragile this thing is right on a plane flash resurrection from our consciousness Now the flipside of that is on a plane flash wake up you see a city remember the story in the millennium 20 years I mean that Revelation 21000 years New Jerusalem comes down we're going to resurrect it all right you wake up you see a city then you now look next to you and you say hey that looks kind of like Hitler. That is Hitler that looks kind of like Kangas Khan Julius Caesar Oh oh my you're gone are Nero all that oh that looks like the devil that is the devil. Do you realize that people are dying every single day and from their reality from their consciousness from their perspective they are waking up 2nd coming 2nd coming 2nd coming New Jerusalem New Jerusalem New Jerusalem that is a reality that is happening every single day from the perspective of the person that is dying are you following me. That is taking place every single day and the thing is that none of us in the room in this room know when our time is coming to meet your Maker 1000 years apart and yesterday was actually a if but if it causes us to have more self awareness and ask the fundamental question How is it with me and Jesus human it's a gift let's not squander this Amen let's not just let this moment pass and business goes on as usual and we're just love ald right back into security let's take advantage of this opportunity and say Lord I want to accept the gift I want to say Yes Lord I want to give you permission to take my heart to fill me and to save me by its grace and when you go and say Lord save me ima let us pray let us pray Father in heaven we pray that you would be with us. In the upcoming days and weeks may your Holy Spirit touch our hearts to live life for the things that really matter most. Our relationship with God. And our relationship with people. We ask these things in the precious name of Jesus. In this media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more sermons lead to visit W W W audio verse or.


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