Wednesday Noonday Prayer: Saving Sinners

American University of Health Sciences (AUHS) faculty and staff gathered the University Chapel to praise and worship God and to support and pray for their Christian brothers and sisters on Wednesday, April 5, 2017. This week’s Noonday Prayer was led by Dr. Mok Chong, the Dean of General Education.

“Today we’re going to talk about God and how His son, Jesus Christ, came into this world to save us,” Dr. Chong said.

Attendees sat in a circle and were given a list of passages from both the Old and New Testament of the Holy Bible. Each attendee took a turn to read each passage out loud and shared what each excerpt meant to him or her on a  personal, professional and spiritual level.

Luke 15: 1-5 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders.”

“The Pharisees and the religious authorities in those days did not like Jesus because he was radically different,” said Hai Luong, an Admissions Coordinator, “Jesus hung around with sinners, the tax collectors, the IRS (Internal Service Revenue).”

Luong explained that the tax collectors in those days were worse than the IRS today because although the tax collectors were Jewish and part of the community, they worked for the Romans and for their own self-interest.

“The tax collectors were blood sucking people who collected more than what was due because whatever extra they collected, they put in their own pocket,” Luong said, “The Jewish people were already oppressed. The Romans came and took over their country and the tax collectors put even more of a burden on their shoulders.”

But one of Jesus’ 12 Disciples was a tax collector named Levi. When Jesus “recruited him,” Levi changed his name to Matthew, according to Luong.

“When Matthew became a Disciple, he threw a party and invited sinners and his tax collector friends. Then Jesus came to the party and talked to them,” Luong said, “The Pharisees and the authorities did not like this. They despised how Jesus welcomed sinners and ate with them.”

Pastor Gregory Johnson, the Co-founder of AUHS, discussed how Christians today should follow Jesus’ example of reaching out to sinners and bringing them closer to God.

“A lot of times we get to a place where we think that just because we’re saved, we have finished the work that is before us,” said Pastor Johnson, “But actually our work has only just begun because God saved us to save others and to be used as instruments to help bring others to Christ.”

Pastor Johnson discussed his experience in Wondercon at the Anaheim Convention Center from March 31- April 2, 2017. He and his associates held a booth at the event, passed out flyers, talked about AUHS’ nursing program, and prayed for attendees. While Pastor Johnson was inside the Anaheim Convention Center “creating a space for God,” there were Christians outside holding signs and protesting the event.

“We (AUHS) were at Wondercon and it was a place where religious folk will not go. In fact, they stand outside, protesting and hitting people with signs. But I’m inside inviting people to Christ,” Pastor Johnson said, “I think a lot of times what people do in their enthusiasm is that they forget about who they were and how they have also sinned. They forget how far away they were from Christ.”

Most people will not come closer to “the cross” through “legalization” and “the commandments,” according to Pastor Johnson.

“The cross symbolizes an invitation of love. It is an invitation from Jesus to come and be with Him forever because He loved us so much that He died for us,” Pastor Johnson said, “The bottom line is we have been saved so that we can save others. We have been anointed so that we could heal others. We have been gifted so we can use our gifts to glorify God.”

Just as Jesus Christ was willing to walk among sinners, Christians must do the same.

“You have to be willing to go out, you have to be willing to go to the highways and to the byways where people are at and where people are lost because that’s where we can begin,” Pastor Johnson said, “All of us are unclean. All of us are lepers. And if we were lepers (in Jesus’ time), the Pharisees would not have been able to touch us, speak to us, or save us. So when you get to the point where you are so religious that you do not want to touch a leper, then you have already become confused. All of us are unclean and the only person that can clean us is Christ.”

Dr. Kim Dang (Hon.), the Founder of AUHS, offered a different point of view regarding the Christians holding signs outside of Wondercon. She believed that the Christians were not protesting but were actually using the event to reach out to people and bring them closer to God.

“Hundreds and thousands of people go to Comicon and Wondercon. I always see people laugh at the Christians standing outside. They think that (the Christians) are a joke or that they’re lunatics. People want to go to Comicon to have a good time and they think these Christians are coming in with signs and bullhorns, trying to ruin it,” Dr. Dang said, “But what the Christians are trying to say is, ‘Hey listen, what you have here is temporary. What happens after you die is forever. Being with God is forever. Eternity is a long time, so you want to be in a good place.’”

Dr. Dang expressed her admiration for the Christians who held signs outside of Wondercon.

“I really admire those guys because even though people ridicule them, they still care about you enough to want to save you,” Dr. Dang said, “A lot of  Christians don’t want to go out in public and be mocked but for some reason, they felt a need or desire to save these people. What they’re doing is brave because a lot of people don’t want to be laughed at or made fun of, but they took that risk for Christ.”

Dr. Dang though it was interesting that these Christians opted to use Wondercon as a venue to preach the Gospel.

“Traditionally Christians went door to door to tell people about God. Today, the only ones who knock on doors are Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons,” Dr. Dange said, “I’m so impressed by how good they are it. There are boys as young as 16-years-old, riding their bikes through bad neighborhoods, and knocking on doors. They are so committed. How do they get their kids to become that committed? Why are we as Christians sometimes are committed and sometimes are not?”

John 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through Him.

“What does a sinner do? Sin. Our flesh is very weak so we continue to sin. But God comes for all of us and by His grace, we are saved,” Dr. Chong said, “The beauty of Jesus is that He does not care what class you are, how much money you have, or whether or not you’re a doctor. None of those things matter because Jesus knows we are not perfect and He still loves us anyway.”

Dr. Chong asked the people in the room to consider the university’s mission and how it is connected to the Lord’s will.

“We at the university accepts everybody. We give everybody a chance. Our mission at AUHS is very important because we represent the teachings of Christ- to love one another and to save as many people as possible,” Dr. Chong said, “It does not matter if a student has 3 kids, she can still come back to school. There are people who do not get into any of the other school they applied to but AUHS gives them a chance. We are looking for people who want to provide the kind of love and care to their patients the same way Christ has loved and cared for us.”

Luong explained that God’s standards towards us are higher than our own personal standards.

“The word ‘sin’ in Greek means ‘to miss the mark.’ God expects perfection and none of us is perfect. We have all missed that mark of perfection,” Luong said, “God’s standards are much higher than our own standards and that is why the Bible is for all of us who sin and had fallen short of His glory. Jesus, who was perfect, came to die in our place to fulfill God’s law of perfection and holiness. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus.”

Pastor Johnson explained that not all sinners sin intentionally and it was their responsibility as Christians to teach sinners that what they are doing is wrong.

“The gospel opens our own eyes so that we can see and you do not see a problem until you get closer to something that is clear,” Pastor Johnson said.

He explained that when a boy grows up to become a young man, he will think about making love to a woman. The young man may not necessarily think that making love to a woman is fornication.

“If they think it’s just making love and they haven’t drawn closer to Christ, they won’t see it as a problem,” Pastor Johnson said, “When you have become enlightened, and you have become educated, and when God reveals His true nature to you, you will have clarity. Then you will realize the things that once were okay are not okay anymore.”

Pastor Johnson explained that it is important for Christians to invite everyone to God but in the end, they cannot decide that person’s fate.

“We can’t decide who God saves but you can’t just let people sin if you love them. It does a disservice and it’s not right. But you have to do it in love, you have to say it in love, you have to offer it in love,” Pastor Johnson said, “In fact, it says in the bible, if you see a man falling and you don’t warn him, he not only dies in his sins, but you as well. But if you see a man falling, and you warn him, his death is on his own hands and not on yours.”

AUHS is a private, for-profit, minority owned, minority serving, Christian-based university whose mission is to educate and equip students with life careers and to produce quality health care professionals for the community, the nation, and the world. It is a university where appreciation of life and one’s spiritual reason for existence can be nurtured.  AUHS offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), a Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences (BSPS) and a Master of Science in Clinical Research (MSCR). To request more information email admissions@auhs.edu or call (562) 988-2278. For the latest news, pictures and videos of American University of Health Sciences’ events, like us on Facebook @auhs.edu and follow us on Twitter @AUHS_Campus and Instagram @auhsedu.