“It’s Never Too Late” – HMCC-HK 2018 Baptism

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Uncategorized

 

 

It was an emotional baptism. The stories of transformation were powerful. I left the baptism celebration with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. The realization that this was our 8th baptism celebration in our short 3.5 year history as a church reminded me that it is truly the work of God to take a person from darkness into His marvelous light. God helped me to remember that everything that I do as a pastor is worth it because of these moments. I have the privilege of being a part of people’s lives, whether directly or indirectly, and witnessing first-hand what the Gospel can do to a person’s life once they understand the grace and the love of God.

I wouldn’t trade this for the world. There is nothing that can be more fulfilling or satisfying on this side of eternity.

This baptism celebration was extra special because I had the honor of baptizing a father who started to come out to our church because of his son, who attended our single-adult ministry. As he shared his testimony, it moved the hearts of everyone in the room. I think when we come to know the Lord later in life, there is a greater understanding and weightiness to the power of the Gospel.

There were two things that struck me the most from his testimony. The first thing was his humility and his awareness of his own fragility. I am more convinced that as we get older we are more aware of our sinfulness and we gain a greater perspective on things. Life, with all its up’s and down’s, has a way of bringing things into greater focus. The older we get, the more pain, sorrow, and loss we experience. He touched upon all of this in his testimony. The second thing that stuck out for me is when he said, “I wish I could have known Christ earlier, but IT’S NEVER TOO LATE.”

The last phrase hit something in my heart.

It brought me way back to the late ’90s when our church back in Ann Arbor sent a missions project team to Peru. We were serving in an orphanage located in a very mountainous and remote area. We met an incredible lady who was in her 60’s. She loved the kids and had such a beautiful heart. As we were leaving she stopped the bus because she wanted to say her last goodbyes and give us another word of encouragement. She said, “When I see so many of you young people loving and serving Jesus, it makes me wish I knew Christ earlier (she came to know Christ in her 40’s). But I am thankful that Christ saved me and it’s never too late.”

For some reason, those words, “It’s never too late,” just struck me because she gave us some much-needed perspective. She was reminding us that since we came to know Christ at a younger age, we will have a longer time to serve and love God. I think it is easy for many young people to take things for granted, especially their salvation.

This is the reason why I was so moved at the baptism testimony by this father. Not only did it remind me of my experience in Peru, but it triggered a sense of hope. There are many members in our church who have parents that are not believers, yet. Therefore, hearing a testimony by this father stirred people’s heart to pray and have faith that God can transform anyone. Whether God will work now or in 10 years, all we can do is to pray and trust that God’s will will be done.

I am more convinced than ever before that God can transform anyone, regardless of background or even age. God has transformed many people in the past and He will continue to do so today. It is just humbling that I get a front row seat and get to witness all this. To God be all the glory!

UK Missions Project 2018

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Uncategorized

 

This coming December, during the Christmas holiday, a small team of fluent Mandarin speakers in HMCC-HK and I will be heading out to the United Kingdom to participate in God’s mission. I have been invited as a guest speaker for the youth program at a family camp for Chinese people, who either immigrated to the UK or are expatriated in the UK due to college or temporary employment. After this family camp, we will stick around for an extra four days to help lead another camp, but this time it will be with the Mandarin-speaking university students who are attending schools, such as Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial College, King’s College, etc. Many of them do not know Christ, therefore, we will have the wonderful opportunity to share the Gospel with students who are searching for meaning and purpose in their lives.

There are close to 2.5 million Chinese people living in the 24 different countries in Europe. Out of the 2.5 million Chinese expatriates, a high percentage of them reside in the UK, France, and Germany. This is quite a harvest field and the need for the Gospel is enormous. One thing that I am constantly trying to do is to connect the dots with the HMCC-HK’s BOLD Vision and The Circle and with what God is doing all over the world.

I realized that if we can get introduced to the mission field in Europe via the UK, then we will be able to reach out to many of the expatriated Chinese in Europe, who might eventually find their way back to China in the future. Then, as we continue to focus on making disciples in global Chinese cities with reputable universities, we will be able to connect these students with a future HMCC church in China. Through a church planting movement all throughout China, we can then participate in advancing God’s kingdom in our generation for God’s glory.

The team and I will be joining many other Chinese churches from different parts of the world to partner together in order to reach this harvest field. Therefore, please keep our missions project and the team (below) in prayer. We were surprised to see that everyone came to take the missions picture wearing blue without us even mentioning anything. This is when we knew that we were one in spirit and that this was going to be a great missions project.

 

Reflections on China Trip – 2018 October

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint, Vision, Visits

For four days, I went to China with three other people to help teach on the topic of discipleship with our ALIVE Curriculum. It was an incredible trip filled with lots of praises and “God-moments.” I had some time to reflect on the things that God was doing in China and some convictions that God stirred up in my heart. Here are three things that God reminded me of (again):

  1. Multiply the Influence. As we were teaching the ALIVE Curriculum, I realized that the people were so hungry for biblical materials to help them grow spiritually.  The need for materials, which go beyond discipleship was evident. I recognized that if we had materials on missions, evangelism, apologetics, etc, it would have helped tremendously. Therefore, the thought about writing and creating more materials became more of a reality. This is something HMCC of Hong Kong will need to commit to for the future. But realistically, materials and head knowledge of things are insufficient. It can never replace genuine life-on-life interaction and examples. If we want to have greater influence in China, we have to go beyond just the written materials. We have to think about helping with the building of culture (i.e. prayer, a heart for the lost, community, etc). This means we have to pray that we will be able to send our own missionaries to these university campuses and cities to live out the Gospel amongst the people.
  2. Mirco-churches. With all the changes going on in China, the Chinese Church is rethinking about the structure of the church. Some of the Western influences of the mega-church and big structure might have to slowly fade away, and what brought great growth in the past through house churches (micro-churches), might have to be brought back. We went to several micro-churches on this trip and witnessed first-hand the power of simplicity and strength in small groups of Christ-followers gathering together just like the early church in the Book of Acts. It really did feel like an HMCC LIFE Group. It gave me greater confidence that we will be able to plant many churches throughout China via the micro-church movement. One big issue is the training of leaders. But if we are able to raise up people and continue to find ways to train them, then I can see many micro-churches spreading in different universities and cities all throughout China. This might be one of the most effective ways to reach the 1.4 billion people in China. Big things happen in small ways.
  3. Make Disciples. I am more convinced than ever that making disciples is one of the greatest callings that a Christ-follower has in their obedience to God’s Word regarding missions. In Matthew 28:19-20, when Jesus told us to “go and make disciples of all nations,” it was not a suggestion, but a command. It was a part of God’s greater purpose of reaching the nations with the Gospel. The calling to make disciples is something that we, at HMCC of Hong Kong has to keep on emphasizing. So often, we want to do big and great things, but we forget that making one disciple in our lives can be one of the most impactful things we will ever do. The one disciple that we invest and pour our lives into just might be the person who will impact thousands, if not millions of lives. This is why I want to continue to disciple the people that God has placed in my life. My prayer is that I will fulfill Paul’s command to Timothy of, “You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others” (2 Timothy 2:2, NLT).

With these realizations and convictions, I want to continue to pour my life into the BOLD Vision that God has placed in our hearts for HMCC of Hong Kong. I know that I will not be able to do this alone, therefore, I want to invite all of you to pray and decide to be a part of something greater than yourself. Let’s believe by faith that God will finish His purposes in our lives and in our church. May we continue to advance God’s Kingdom for God’s glory and fame.

HMCC-HK’s BOLD Vision

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Vision

 

 

George Washington Carver once said, “Where there is no vision, there is no hope.” As Christ-followers, our greatest hope is found in Jesus. Once we learn to place our trust in Jesus for everything, we will find the freedom to love and serve Him out of gratitude. It is only then, we will start to gain a greater heart for Jesus’s mission and a clearer vision of God’s Kingdom. At HMCC-HK, we are trying to raise up Kingdom servants who will capture God’s vision and His heart for the Great Commission.

Jesus gave the Church a clear mandate to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19-20, NIV). This is a universal command for all churches, but each church will carry out the Great Commission in their unique way. For HMCC-HK, we have been called to play our small role in fulfilling the Great Commission by reaching “The Circle.”

In order for us to do our part, we are going to concentrate our efforts in the next 5 years (end of 2023) to step out in faith and obey God in the mission and vision that He has given to us. This is going to require a bold and radical trust in God. Apart from God’s grace and power, we do not have the ability to see God’s vision become a reality.

We are simply calling our vision for the next 5 years, The BOLD Vision. We are using the acronym BOLD to describe our vision, which has four components:

  1. B – Build a School of Ministry.
  2. O – Open a church site, one locally and one globally.
  3. L – Launch at least one LIFE Group in all of the 8 UGC in HK.
  4. D – Disciple 1,000 people through the ALIVE discipleship curriculum.

Each of these components of the vision will play a strategic part in reaching The Circle. It is hard to believe that over 53% of the world’s population lives within the circle, and Hong Kong is in the center! It has always been our desire since 1996 to live out Jesus’s mission when He said in Acts 1:8 (NLT), “you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” This vision of rippling out to the ends of the earth with the Gospel message has always been our passion and the purpose of why we have been committed to “transforming lives and transforming the world.” We will first start in Hong Kong (our Jerusalem) and then reach to as many nations and people groups within the circle (the ends of the earth).

This is why the BOLD Vision plays an important role in fulfilling God’s mission.

First, we believe that building a School of Ministry will be critical in training and preparing people to be sent to The Circle. A big part of seeing the vision become a reality is to have Kingdom workers who are equipped with various ministry skills in order to make a splash for Jesus. More specifically, we would love to see a School of Worship start up so that we can train up worship leaders and worship teams to go with future church plants. It is our hope that this School of Ministry will be a place where we can train up church planters and church planting teams.

Secondly, in order to reach The Circle, we must first reach HK. This means that we need to saturate HK with Gospel-centered churches. Even though HK covers a small land area, the population is very dense. The density makes it hard for people to travel from one side of HK to another in a short period of time. Moreover, we believe that the church should be missional and reach out to the community where it is located. Therefore, we want to see another church get started in another part of HK. Also, we are praying for a church to get started outside of HK, as well. There are many cities in China that are close by and we are hoping that God will open up a door for us to start a church so that we can build momentum for future church plants. Therefore, in the next 5 years, we want to open up another church site, both locally in HK and globally in a surrounding city.

Thirdly, the harvest is great amongst the approximately 100,000 students who attend the 8 UGC (University Grants Committee) universities. Several of them are top universities in Asia and they are even globally ranked. This means that there will be many future influencers coming out of these universities. Therefore, we want to reach them with the Gospel so that we can transform the world. So far, by God’s grace, HMCC-HK has LIFE Groups in 4 out of the 8 (CUHK, PolyU, HKUST, & HKU) major universities in HK. As part of the BOLD Vision, we want to launch at least one LIFE Group in the remaining four universities (CityU, HKBU, LingU, & EdUHK). We want to be on the frontlines of reaching the next generation so we are praying that we will be able to reach all the UGC universities in 5 years.

Lastly, we want to train at least 1,000 people with our ALIVE curriculum. Over the years, God has given us a simple strategy to raise up Christ-followers who will radically live out the Gospel message. Looking at the life and teachings of Jesus in the Gospels, we came to the conclusion that there are some basic traits of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. These traits are found in the acronym A.L.I.V.E. It has been encouraging to see our members growing in these traits. We are also in the process of translating the materials into Chinese so that we can train up other people in an exponential way.

Looking over these four major goals, it can be a little bit daunting because there is no way we will be able to achieve this on our own wisdom or strength. Therefore, we need to pray and trust in God to carry out His vision for His glory.

This is why we are entering into our 3-2-1 GO Campaign. It is simply:

  • 3 minutes of INTERCESSION for the BOLD Vision
  • 2 people to INVEST in discipleship
  • 1 person to INVITE Christ into their life

 

 

As we pray for the BOLD Vision, we want to “G.O.,” which is basically “Grow” and “Obey.” If we commit to grow intimately in our walk with God, then we will want to obey His commands. If we Grow and Obey, then we will want to Go and see God’s Kingdom make a difference in the world.

There is something powerful about having hope in our lives. It helps us to get up in the morning and even go through some of life’s difficult moments. But when we make our lives all about ourselves, we will never experience the hope and true joy of living for Christ. In the next 5 years, our church will be on a journey of seeing God use imperfect people like us to spread the message of the Gospel to HK and to the countless number of people throughout the world. Please journey with us and join us in prayer.

One of my favorite quotes is from Antoine de Saint-Exupery. He wrote, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”

I pray that we will so deeply long for the “endless immensity” of God’s glory that we will give everything that we have to be a part of God’s Kingdom work.

2018 HMCC-HK Leadership Summit

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Vision

 

Photo Credit: Adventure Works Africa

 

By God’s grace, we have passed the 2-year mark as a church plant; and we will be celebrating our 3rd anniversary this coming September. What we have seen God do in our church in the last 2.5 years is nothing short of a miracle. We have seen many people place their faith in Jesus Christ for the first time, as well as many rededication of lives to Christ and His mission. Lives have been transformed and we are still in the process of being transformed even more to the likeness of Christ.

I am so grateful for all the prayer partners and financial supporters who have made God’s vision a reality here in Hong Kong.

The vision and mission that God has given us from our inaugural Sunday Celebration back in September 2015 until now, has not changed, but instead, it has only deepened and developed. This coming year we have invited the highest number of non-church plant team members into our leadership team. As I look at the new leaders, I am so encouraged. They have all experienced God’s transformative work through our church and they are people that we have invested in and raised up in the last couple of years. This is the joy of seeing the fruit of your investment.

Our leadership summit which will be held next week will be a pivotal part of God’s greater work in our church. With all the new leaders, we need to stay focused and commit to effectively training our team. Since “everything rises and falls with leadership,” we want to make sure that we raise up a new generation of leaders who are willing to radically follow Christ and finish the mission. We would greatly appreciate your prayers because without God’s power we will not be able to do anything.

Our leadership community is called, “TEAM Community.” Not only are we a team of servants, but we want to commit to training our leaders with four specific components:

  1. Teaching. Good leaders always know the why’s and they are constantly in the learning mode so that they can competently fulfill their calling as a leader. We want to teach our leaders how to be more effective in understanding and applying biblical principle into their lives and in their LIFE Groups.
  2. Equipping. Many leaders are not effective in their calling because they are not thoroughly equipped with the tools that they need to lead God’s people well. This coming year, we want to continue to equip our leaders with needed resources, as well as practical skills so that they effectively lead their LIFE Groups.
  3. Accountability. Leaders must have good accountability so that they can be above approach as they serve. It is vital that leaders are being challenged to grow in their character and their obedience to God’s Word. We are praying that our leaders will set examples of following Christ so that others can follow.
  4. Mentoring. It’s helpful to have people who have traveled on the journey a little bit longer and further than us. Some things in leadership are more “caught” than “taught,” therefore, good mentorship with people who are a bit more seasoned is needed. I’m excited to see our older leaders mentor our younger leaders.

I am confident that with God’s grace, HMCC-HK will see a lot of great things happen in this new season of ministry. More than ever, we need to be dependent and empowered by God. With each year, we always see a new batch of leaders and it warms my heart to think that I get the privilege of influencing and training them. The lifelong calling of making Jesus famous is something that gets me up in the morning. It never gets old.

TEDx Talk at PolyU

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint, Vision

Photo Credit: PolyU TEDx Talk Facebook Page

 

I’m grateful for the privilege and honor to share my story at PolyU’s 2018 TEDx Talk. As a communicator and preacher, I am always trying to find ways to share timeless truths to help others live out their destiny, as well as to make an impact on society. One big issue that has affected my life is racism, which comes in all different forms.

At 5 years old, my family and I moved to the United States from Seoul, South Korea. As an immigrant, I quickly realized that I was an “outsider.” Throughout elementary school and especially in junior high and high school, it was more prevalent. I tried very hard to fit in, but I noticed that adjusting to a new culture was not easy. The sense of “otherness” and being “different” became more obvious due to the fact that I was one of the few Asians in my school and neighborhood.

But as I reflect back on my life, I am thankful for the experiences and challenges that I faced growing up as a minority. In fact, my differences have really allowed me to be more effective in reaching out to other people. I have allowed my differences to make a difference in various cultures and sub-cultures by making a decision to go through the discomforts of getting to know people who are different from me. This is what “transculturalism” is all about. It is when a person makes: “a decision to go through the discomforts and difficulties in order to develop an understanding and delight in people from different cultures.”

By living with a transcultural mindset, it has given me a perspective that has opened many doors for me to travel around the world and meet a lot of incredible people who are so different from me. I have learned to appreciate and incorporate many lessons obtained through entering into another person’s world. Even though the lessons were painful and challenging, I can now see how everything was working out for the good and for a greater purpose.

My family and I probably would not have left the comforts of the United States and moved to Hong Kong if it were not for the experiences that I had growing up as an “outsider.” I would love to see people learning the principles of transculturalism so that we can make the world a better place to live.

I can’t wait to share my journey and some next steps with you at this year’s PolyU TEDx Talk. Sign up and hope to see you there!

Why We Do What We Do

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Vision

 

Last Friday, we had an open mic for people to share their testimonies and brag about Jesus. It was probably one of the best set of testimonies that I’ve heard in a long time. People shared vulnerably and openly about their weaknesses and their situations, but the best part of it was that each person made much of Jesus. I love hearing stories of transformation, which are directly connected with the Gospel story.

Also that night, I laid out HMCC-HK’s vision for the future. Pretty much, I explained the “whys” of what we are endeavoring for here in Hong Kong (HK). Even though it is not the first time sharing the vision, it is more pertinent and critical now to understand the vision at this season of time. In order to move forward this coming year, it is paramount that the vision is clearly and explicitly explained.

HMCC-HK wants to reach HK because we believe that HK is a very important city. If we can reach HK, we can reach the rest of the world. The vision is divided into four crucial parts (the 4 M’s): (1) Multiply LIFE Groups in HK universities, (2) Multi-site churches throughout HK, (3) Missions to “The Circle,” (4) Mobilize church launch teams.

Each of these four parts can be illustrated and further explained with some pictures:

  1. Multiply LIFE Groups in HK universities. In order for us to reach HK, we must reach the key universities within HK. When people experience genuine biblical community, their lives will be transformed. As people are experiencing transformation, they will start reaching out to other people and impacting their sphere of influence. We believe that as LIFE Groups grow healthy, it will begin to multiply in number. Even though we are starting on the university campuses, we believe that LIFE Groups will multiply in every life-stage ministries in our church (i.e. single adults, married couples, families, etc.) throughout the whole city.
  2. Photo Credit: HMCC-HK Media Team
     
     
     

  3. Multi-site churches throughout HK. It is our hope that our LIFE Groups will multiply on each of the campuses. Then, we can start to form a strong core group of people who will have a passion for their “mission field” or region of HK. We are praying that each region of HK, where there is a key university, will multiply to about 6-7 LIFE Groups. Once we have about 50-60 core members in each area, we can start a multi-site church to target that particular neighborhood. This will help the church to be more missional and to live out the Gospel in their area of residence. As multi-site churches are being launched all throughout HK, we will be able to reach fully engage and saturate HK with Gospel-centered communities. God used this next picture to speak to me about the importance of reaching HK. It is a simple in-flight magazine that shows flights originating from HK; nevertheless, God used it to give a visual picture of the importance of reaching HK in order to start future churches all throughout Asia.
  4. Photo Credit: Cathay’s in-flight magazine
     
     
     

  5. Missions to “The Circle.” It is incredible how God can use a simple map to help ignite a vision for HMCC-HK. This vision became more of a reality when God used two more informational pictures to solidify His calling for our church. It is estimated that 52% of the world’s population lives within the circle (the first picture below). If you look closely, you will notice that HK is right in the center of the circle. This reminded me of the in-flight magazine and how God spoke about the importance of reaching HK and then we will be able to reach the rest of the world. The other picture shows how every city in “the circle” can be reached from HK by a 4-5 hour plane ride. We believe that God has strategically placed us in HK to make an impact on this side of the world. First, we will build our relational connection with people who are located in different cities within the circle and who have a heart for an HMCC church to be launched. Secondly, we will engage various global cities via missions projects and possible LIFE Group start ups within this circle and prepare to plant Gospel-centered churches. Thirdly, we want to build a strong network of relationships so that we can continue to teach, train and equip Kingdom workers to reach “the circle.” Lastly, it is our desire to start up a School of Ministry in HK and in other cities within the circle so that we can raise up the next generation of Kingdom servants who will transform the world. This will entail training up future pastors, church planters, and leaders who will engage the world through the Transformasphere Movement.
  6. Photo Credit: Designed by valeriepieris
     
     

    Photo Credit: InvestHK
     
     
     

  7. Mobilize church launch teams. As we remain faithful to the vision that God has given, we believe that He will open other doors for us to bring the Gospel to the rest of the world. We want to mobilize future church launch teams so that we can focus on planting Gospel-centered churches in other global cities within “the circle.” One thing that God is doing is using China’s Belt and Road Initiative to open up access to many different countries around the world. Some people see this as an engagement of the old Silk Road, which was the network of trade routes from Asia to Europe. God is opening up transportation routes so that people can travel conveniently from Asia to the Middle East, and all the way to Europe. We believe this is going to give us new access to places where we can take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Once again, it will all have to start with reaching HK.
  8. Photo Credit: Hong Kong Trade Development Council
     
     

    Photo Credit: China Xinhua News

 
 
 
When I think about what God is calling us to do here in Hong Kong and beyond, it is something that no human being can accomplish on their own strength, wisdom or talents. It is a supernatural work; therefore, we need to stay connected to our Supernatural God.

As we look ahead to this new season of ministry, we need to depend on God more and continue to abide in Him. Those of you who are a part of our church, I want to challenge you to grow this coming year. Don’t lose sight of the vision. May the God-given vision motivate you, students to study hard. For those of you who are working professionals, I pray that you will be a great witness in the workplace. Let’s always stay hungry, humble, and hustle for God’s glory.

For the rest of you, we would love for you to join us in prayer and even consider giving financially to God’s work. Also, if you some of you want more information or want to participate in God’s work here in Hong Kong, please contact our church at hongkong@hmcc.net

Soli Deo Gloria

We Are Reaching Another Campus

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Vision


Photo Credit: The University of Hong Kong

 

From the beginning of HMCC-HK’s journey, our purpose has always been about life transformation and the glory of God. It is hard to believe that we are slowly approaching the end of the two-year mark of our church plant. So far it has been a whirlwind experience, to say the least, but through it all, God has been faithful and good.

Over the last two years, we have seen many people come to know Christ for the first time, get baptized, experience biblical community, find purpose in life, and commit to living for the Kingdom of God. I get overwhelmed with a great sense of gratitude for God’s grace over my life, as I have the privilege of seeing God’s work of transformation firsthand.

With so much happening, it is always important to stay rooted in the Gospel. It is only by God’s grace that we have come so far. In September 2015, we started off with two LIFE Groups – one on the Chinese University of Hong Kong campus (CUHK) and one on the Hong Kong Polytechnic University campus (PolyU). Since then, we have seen each LIFE Group multiply on both campuses. Then in 2016, we started two LIFE Groups for our City Ministry – one for the single working adults (Focus ministry) and one for the married couples (Covenant ministry). God has been growing our church, one life at a time, one family at a time, and one university campus at a time.

In order to reach Hong Kong with the Gospel, we have concluded that we need to reach all the universities in this great city. Therefore, back in October 2016, we started another LIFE Group on our third university campus of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). As we saw more lives experience transformation through the power of the Gospel, we started to pray for other university campuses that do not have an HMCC LIFE Group. In particular, we have been praying for the University of Hong Kong campus (HKU), which is the oldest university in Hong Kong and the most influential.

After lots of prayers and patiently waiting for God’s open door, in September 2017, we will start our first LIFE Group on the HKU campus. All four of these university campuses have a significant role in our greater vision of reaching Hong Kong. Therefore, we know that it is God who is going to help us start and sustain this LIFE Group.

I want to further explain the specific steps that went into making this decision. In December 2016, the Executive Team and I met together to have our bi-yearly summit, where we spent some time to pray, plan and prepare for the new year. As we talked about HMCC-HK’s greater vision, the topic of reaching other campuses came up. Back then, the talk about starting another LIFE Group in another campus seemed absolutely ridiculous in light of everything that was going on in our church. So, we decided to come up with some marker to gauge and see if starting a LIFE Group on another campus was even possible. Consequently, the SCOPE acronym became our measurement to discern and guide us in our decision.

Now, looking back at our conversation, we are truly amazed and humbled at God’s sovereignty. We know that God orchestrates all things for His mission and His glory. The SCOPE acronym entails:

1) S – Strong LIFE Groups. We knew that we could not start another LG if the other LGs were not healthy and strong. Therefore, we made it a clear goal to see our most recent LG on the HKUST campus grow in health and in number. We also wanted to raise up a person who will be qualified to lead the HKUST LG in September 2017, since I would no longer be able to lead it. Since that time, we have seen the HKUST LG grow in health and in numbers; but most importantly, we have raised two leaders to lead the LG for next year.

2) C – Core Group. Another factor that we needed to consider was developing a strong core group of people who were committed to the mission and vision of the church. We realized that without a core group of committed people, an LG can easily implode. Therefore, we made it our goal to develop and train up a core group of people who will be the foundation for the future LIFE Group on the HKUST campus. At our last LG, we were all humbled to see that God indeed formed a strong core group for next year.

3) O – Opportune Moments. One thing we wanted to make sure about was that we were discerning God’s timing with the launch of a LIFE Group on HKU campus. We started to do some research to be more aware of the needs of the HKU campus, as well as to see what other Kingdom work is happening. Also, we realized that if this is something that God is leading us to do, then, He would need to raise up someone who can help me lead this LIFE Group. Recently, one of our church plant members stepped out in faith and applied to the graduate program at HKU, which was in line with God’s calling on their life. About 1.5 months ago, this person found out that they got accepted into the program. All the pieces were coming together; therefore, we decided to respond in faith to God’s opportune or kairos moment.

4) P – Potential Partners. If we were going to move forward on this endeavor, we knew that God had to bring the right people to start this LIFE Group. We found out that there were a few people who went to HKU but attended a PolyU LIFE Group this past year. In order for these students to be missional, they should reach out to their own campus. Therefore, the need to start this LG on HKU was more pressing. Also, we started to find out that several other people got accepted to HKU and they were coming in as a 1st year student in September 2017. This was truly God’s handiwork in bringing these people to our context. We believe that some of these students will partner up with us in reaching HKU for God’s glory.

5) E – Equipped Leaders. The leadership guru, John Maxwell said, “Everything rises and falls with leadership.” When we have well trained and equipped leaders, we can accomplish a lot of things. Therefore, we wanted to make sure that the leaders who will lead HKUST and the other LG leaders on the other campuses are well prepared to lead this coming year. We have spent the whole summer developing and raising up the next generation of leaders with our summer LGs. I will continue to help train and develop these leaders throughout the year. Also, the person who will be partnering with me to lead the HKU LG has a lot of experience in LG ministry, but throughout this year, I will help further develop this person to be even more effective in leading LG.

Living a life of faith is exciting but at the same time, it is scary. I told people that listening to God’s voice and stepping out in obedience is really “scary exciting!” We don’t know everything that will happen, but one thing we do know is that God will go with us. He loves the campus and the people of HKU more than we do; therefore, all we can do is pray and trust that God will use us for His glory.

If you know of anyone who is coming to HKU as a new student or even a current student who is not connected to a biblical community, then please let us know. We want to reach out to them and invite them to be a part of the LIFE Group experience. We will start reaching out to students at the end of August and start the LIFE Group in the beginning of September.

We would greatly covet your prayers in this new season of ministry. We know that this mission cannot be accomplished by ourselves, but we need God’s people to rally together in prayer. Will you join us?

The Father’s Heart for Orphans

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Various, Victories, Viewpoint

 
Children Embrace2
 
 
My wife, Christina, keeps reminding me, “As we get older, we should be more unselfish, more humble and more loving.” In theory, this makes a lot of sense. But in reality, it is a whole different issue altogether.

As we get older, we should realize more of our sinfulness. As we get older, we should become more humble and loving. The older we get, the more we should have testimonies that point to the experience of God’s love and grace. Then what seems to be the problem? For me, it can be summed it up in three simple words: I. Am. Forgetful.

I forget that I was once spiritually lost and dead in my sin (Eph 2:1-3).
I forget that I was chosen and predestined for God’s purpose (Eph 1:4-5; Ro 8:29-30).
I forget how God redeemed and rescued me through the blood of Jesus (Eph 1:7).
I forget how God’s grace was richly and abundantly poured out on me (Eph 2:4-7).
I forget how God adopted me into His family because of His love (Eph 1:5; Ro 8:5).
I forget all the spiritual blessings that I now have in Christ (Eph 1:3).

Forgetfulness. So many of us know this all too well.

This is the reason why I reacted in annoyance and frustration when Christina mentioned that God might be calling us to foster a 4-month old orphaned baby, who has a physical disability. Instead of remembering who God is and His Father’s heart for the orphans and the lost, all I could think about at that moment was – me. I forgot about all that God did in my life. The only thing that took center stage was my selfishness.

For the next 30 minutes I was in a back-and-forth discussion with Christina. I tried to help her to see all the reasons why this might not be a good idea. But the more I talked, the more forgetful I became of God’s love and grace. I was so consumed with myself that the only thing that kept coming to mind was the inconvenience and the discomfort of going through sleepless nights and endless diaper changes. Everything inside of me cried out, “What about me? Didn’t I pay my dues with our three kids? Why do we have to go through it again?”

It was in that moment that God had to remind me of His Father’s heart towards me.

I remembered how spiritually dead and hopeless I was.
I remembered how I was separted from God because of my sin.
I remembered how God reached out to me, rescued me and redeemed me.
I remembered how God loved me and adopted me into His family.
I remembered how God graciously and lavishly poured out so many blessings.

I knew what God was trying to say to me. I had a choice – to obey God or to obey my flesh. I’m thankful that through Christina, God reminded me of His Father’s heart. With the short amount of time we will have with her, I think it is going to transform our family for good. We are thankful that today, our family will have the privilege of welcoming a little 4-month old girl from China into our home.

For some reason, things feel different already, as God has been preparing our hearts to receive her into our home; but most of all, welcome her into our hearts. We would greatly appreciate your prayers and we can’t wait to introduce her to all of you.

In the last 2 weeks, I have been reminded of the song, “Good, Good Father.” The lyrics are:

Oh, I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think you’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night
And you tell me that you’re pleased and that I’m never alone

You’re a Good, Good Father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

Oh, and I’ve seen many searching for answers far and wide
But I know we’re all searching
For answers only you provide
Cause you know just what we need
Before we say a word

You’re a Good, Good Father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

Cause you are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways to us [2x]

Oh, it’s love so undeniable
I, I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable
I, I can hardly think

As you call me deeper still [x3]
Into love, love, love

You’re a Good, Good Father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

 
 

#youmatter Movement

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint, Vision

You Matter

 

Throughout history, whenever a need arises, the people who take action are the ones who transform the world. Instead of idly standing by, they decide to do something. Their actions, often times, stem from a conviction or a burden. They count the cost and take steps of faith in order to make a difference. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

The challenge that people from HMCC of Hong Kong faced was the suicide crisis on university campuses. Within a short period of time, news of students committing suicide became a frequent occurrence in HK. As the number of suicides began to rise, we realized that something was happening and we needed to do something about it. Therefore, with our limited resources, we decided to bring awareness and spread hope by letting students know that they matter. It was a small gesture, but it had a big impact on people’s lives.

We began to meet people and hear their stories. Some people personally knew those who passed away. As our hearts began to break, we asked God to show us what our next steps should be. This is when a South China Morning Post article brought greater clarity to the suicide crisis in HK. We know that the problem has many factors, therefore, even topics such as mental health must be considered. But for now, we are going to continue to bring awareness and link up with other organizations that are involved in suicide prevention.

As we move forward, we are praying for wisdom and God’s favor to open up doors of opportunity to bring the message of hope and love to every student on the university campuses of HK. We are going to do this by 3 specific steps: Be aware. Act. Advocate.

  • Be AWARE. There are close to 100,000 students in the 8 major universities here in HK. We want to bring awareness of the realities of suicide to 100% of the university students. We are hoping that we can engage every incoming 1st year student with the message that they matter and that they are not defined by their grades, situation or brokenness.

 

  • ACT. Our desire to bring awareness is just the first step. We want to then provide various avenues for students to take action. We are hoping that we can network with other organizations that provide professional counseling and other resources. We want to equip the students with various classes to learn life skills, which will prepare them for difficulties in life. We want to also provide various community/support groups for the students. This can provide the needed relationships and mentorship to help guide the students with encouragement and hope.

 

  • ADVOCATE. We want to also empower the students and university staff to help spread hope to others around them. If students can take the responsibility of helping one another, then we believe a difference can be made. There are many barriers that hinder those who struggle with suicidal thoughts from seeking help; therefore, when students are committed to helping each other, relational connections can be made and support can come from their peers.

 

So much of what is going on can seem so daunting, but we are confident that for such a time as this, people are rising up to speak hope and love to this generation. Every conversation and every prayer that is spoken can have an incredible impact on someone’s life. It is our sincere desire that we will not shy away from this situation, but rather, speak the truth and offer hope to anyone who is struggling to believe that they matter to God and to others.

Mother Teresa once said, “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”

Let’s do our part!

#youmatter on website, Instagramand Facebook

 

 

Suicides in Hong Kong

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint

 
You Matter

 

It has been over a year since I wrote anything on my blog (sorry); but recently, with various things going on in Hong Kong, I felt compelled to write and share some things that are on my heart.

In the last seven months, there have been 24 suicides committed by young people in Hong Kong. This is one too many. Each person ended their life due to various circumstances, but the story line is the same – they felt hopeless and could not see a way out. At an age where a person has their whole life ahead of them, it is hard to believe that their circumstances won over and the hope of a better future was eliminated. But this is the sad reality and we can no longer just ignore the situation.

The Hong Kong government and school officials are trying to address the issue but many people are saying that their efforts are not enough. While there are different available organizations and health services, it seems like the students are not seeking help. I know that it is a complicated issue with many different factors such as family background, mental health issues, school pressures, etc. playing a part in the overall problem.

Therefore, we have to approach this situation from many different angles; but the first major step is to bring awareness to the crisis. When people are not aware of the problem, there is no sense of urgency nor a willingness to get involved. We can only become part of the solution when we acknowledge that there is a problem and something has to change. We also want to somehow communicate to the youth of Hong Kong that there is hope and there is something greater to live for.

As I personally reflect on this crisis, my heart is burdened for this generation of youth. If you stumbled across this blog and you are struggling with thought of suicide, I want to say 4 things to you:

1) You are PRECIOUS and dearly loved. Even though you might not feel like it, you are beautifully and wonderfully created by God. Your life has value and worth. Regardless of what people said to you in the past, the most important thing is what God says about you. He does not create “useless” things, but rather God creates beautiful things. You are one of God’s greatest creation.

 

2) You have a PURPOSE in life. Every life has a purpose. We are not placed here on earth accidently or aimlessly. You might not realize it nor see it at the moment, but your life has great purpose. Each person has a reason for existence. One of the greatest joys you will experience in life is finding out that purpose and living it out passionately. You matter, therefore, fulfill your purpose.

 

3) You can PERSEVERE with a community who cares for you. Life was not meant to be lived alone. We were made for community. Too often, we find ourselves isolated and separated from people. This is the reason why a person might find it hard to have the strength to endure their situation. But when we are surrounded by people who genuinely care and love us, then we feel supported. Don’t go on in the journey of life alone. There are people who love you and care for you. Just speak up and share.

 

4) Your PAIN will not be wasted. One of the wonderful things about the word, “redemption” or “redeem” is the fact that it conveys the idea of making something better or restoring something to its original intent. Sadly to say, in this world, due to sin, there will always be pain. But that is never the end of the story. Since there is a God who is working “all things for the good,” we can be confident that He will use every single hurt and pain for something glorious. For every tear that we cry, God will use it to water beautiful flowers in our lives.

 

There is hope. I want to encourage you to seek help. Don’t fight this battle alone. There are people who believe that you matter. We started a campaign called, “You Matter” to bring awareness to the people of Hong Kong. You can check out our You Matter website, as well as look at some of the people on our Instagram posts who want to remind you that you matter.
We would also love to connect you with a community of young people who care for you. Just sign up to at the bottom of the You Matter website to get connected.

 

If you need immediate help, please contact the following organizations:

 

The Samaritans
Hotline: +852 28 960 000
Website: samaritans.org.hk
E-mail Helpline: jo@samaritans.org.hk

 

Suicide Prevention Services
Hotline: +852 23820000
Website: sps.org.hk

God Can Use Our Past

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Various, Viewpoint

 
I’m always inspired when I hear about God using a person’s messed-up past to advance His mission. We have to remember that God never makes mistakes. Even through some of our deepest pains and trials, God can use it somehow for His glory.

The best part of God’s creative work in redemption is that He uses our experiences and personalities to reach many people with the Gospel. Due to my personal experiences and personality, I am able to reach a certain segment of the world.

In the same way, your life, which is probably very different from mine, can reach out to another segment of the world. Can you imagine what would happen if we shared our stories with people that can relate to us?

God is always in the business of turning our ashes into something beautiful (Isa 61:3). This story is about how God turned a bad boy into a warrior for Christ.
 
 

Forever Family

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Various, Viewpoint

 
It is interesting how the Apostle Paul uses the illustration of adoption when he describes our relationship with God, our Father (Eph 1:3-14).

There is something very powerful about knowing that you are chosen and loved unconditionally. This is part of the core of the Gospel message.

Sometimes through an earthly adoption, people are able to know the love of the Father. May our love for people overflow.
 
 

Superheroes + Kids = Win

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint

 
I realized that it doesn’t take much to see a child laugh or smile . It brings great joy to anyone who see the sense of wonder in a child’s eyes.

This is why when people are willing to go out of their way to make kids happy, it makes me smile.

I pray that we will never lose the sense of wonder and amazement as we get older. God smiles when He see a heart of a child in us.