NU Church Plant Update – 7.31.06

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

I was delayed in DTW airport due to thunderstorm warnings. I finally arrived at ORD airport one hour after the original estimated time of arrival. We called in and told everyone to get started with dinner and we quickly rush over to the meeting.

After eating just one slice of pizza (I decided to save my stomach for Joy Yee’s Pho later that evening), we started the Bible study. This week, we studied Acts 13:1-15:35. I stressed the importance of this section in our study, particularly in relation to the apostolic paradigm that we have been trying to address.

First of all, in 13:1-3, we noticed 3 things when it comes to sending out people to do the work of the Kingdom: there was 1) A calling 2) A confirmation and 3) A commissioning. We observed that as they were fasting and worshipping the Lord that God called Barnabas and Paul for His work. Then after they fasted and prayed, they knew it was God’s will to send out Barnabas and Paul so they confirmed the calling by laying their hands on them. Then, they were commissioned to do the work, as they were sent off to various places to preach the Gospel.

Secondly, we noticed that in the apostolic paradigm, there were signs and wonders that accompanied their calling (13:6-12; 14:3; 14:8-10; 15:12). We discussed how we need to see more of the miraculous in this new church plant – whether it is in the area of healing or even deliverance from demonic influences. But most of all, we want to see the miracle of a transformed heart given completely over to Jesus Christ.

Thirdly, in the apostolic paradigm, we saw that the apostles went to a specific place and after laying down the foundation, moved on to another place to preach the Gospel. It is this constant centrifugal (moving away from the center) focused mission that causes the people to “reproduce” God’s work from place to place. The apostles made sure that the believers there were encouraged and strengthened so that the community of faith could continue on with the mission (13:43; 14:3; 14:21-23; 14:28; 15:32-35);

After our study, we ended up praying for the church plant as well as for one another. In the midst of our prayers, the verse that kept on sticking out was Acts 13:36, “For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep.” I prayed that we will be able to serve God’s purposes in our generation… for such a time as this.

We are at 55 days and counting… until the official launch of the church.
Please continue to pray with us.

Bling, Bling Transformation

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

One of the privileges I have in speaking at various places is meeting different people that remind me of the power of the Gospel. At this revival meeting, I was re-introduced to the phrase, “a blast from the past.” I was able to reconnect with a pastor that was my youth pastor when I was a senior in high school. Also, I was able to catch up with a pastor friend – we could not believe it had been close to 10 years since we saw each other. Then I got a bit surprised when some of the members in this church mentioned that they remembered me as a praise band leader and a youth pastor from the early 1990s (yikes!).

I also met a brother who had a powerful testimony of God’s grace in his life. Through various circumstances, he was brought to a point in life where he realized his need for a Savior. I found out that he and his family owned a jewelry store in downtown Milwaukee. So we made a field trip out to the store, and I quickly came to the conclusion that this was no ordinary jewelry store. I felt like I had to wear sunglasses because of all the bling. But more than being in awe because of the jewelry, I really sensed God’s favor on the store. I looked through his photo album and I was amazed to see all the NBA and NFL players that visited the store. Since the Milwaukee Bucks arena is close by, many of the NBA players would stop by the store during their free time. You probably figured out what was running through my mind – “bro… help out a pastor and hook me up with some tickets!”… haha!

In our generation, I am seeing more people who are using their gifts and passions to make a difference in various spheres of influence. God is even redeeming things from our past so that we can now use everything that we have to build up His Kingdom.

I could not leave the jewelry store without taking a picture. I told the owner to dress me up with some “goods” so I would know what it feels like to have all the bling on me. Now if I had a grill in my mouth that would have topped everything off. Do you know the total worth of the bling I had on me?

Gino and me 2.JPG
 
$300,000 bonafide worth of bling

Wisconsin Revival Gathering

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

I am heading out to Milwaukee today to speak at a revival meeting for a couple of days. I will be seeing a couple of brothers in the ministry that I haven’t seen in a long time. It should be a good time of fellowship and preaching the Word to God’s people.

I have always wondered about revival meetings. There are pros and cons to these 2- or 3-day gatherings. Some of us might have experienced these meetings in high school. You know very well that sometimes the blessings from the gatherings are short lived (a.k.a. rollercoaster ride spirituality). This in turn causes people to get cynical and guarded against these types of meetings. But I like to look at it from a different angle.

As I look at my life as a whole, I realize that there were many “significant” moments. I think back to the time when I first learned how to ride a bike… my first field trip… vacations with my family… the night when I received Christ… getting my driver’s license… breakup with my girlfriend… committing my life to pastoral ministry… wanting to quit from ministry but God renewing my heart… my wedding day (and night)… the delivery room when my kids were born (experienced this 3 times)… the list can go on and on.

All these “events” and experiences were significant because they have made an impression on my life. They are like the anchors or the pegs in the ground where I can look back and say that God was orchestrating things in my life. Every single retreat and every single revival meeting are like those pegs in the ground in our spirituality. God always does something fresh… even if it is the same lesson, He teaches us in a new way.

As we continue to mature and grow in our faith, we will be able to connect the dots (pegs) and come to the conclusion that God has been writing our story all along. Our God is so faithful. I am praying that God will use me at this revival meeting to put down another peg in people’s spiritual journey.

More to come.

Wake Up Call

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

I went to the doctor’s office today. It was a follow-up appointment to the sleep study that I did 1.5 months ago. The test results came in and they found that I have severe sleep apnea. Those of you who do not know what sleep apnea is, then click here.

The doctor indicated that my AHI (Apnea Hypopnea Index) was at 29.3. At first, I was like, “So… what does that mean?” Then with a sober look on his face, he said, “If the AHI is greater than 20 then it is considered not just sleep apnea, but SEVERE sleep apnea!” He also mentioned that my SaO2 (measurement for how much oxygen I am getting) was at 85%. Once again, I asked, “Ok… so what does that mean?” He said, “A normal SaO2 is greater than 96% and in normal circumstances when a person is at 85% it will require a Code Blue in the hospitals.” I asked, “You mean Code Blue… like when they try to resuscitate a person?!” With a look of incredulity the doctor said, “Yes! Bottom line is that all the doctors on the floor would come into your room to try to get you to breath!” My ingenious response was – “Hmm… that is pretty bad.”

The doctor began to lay out what might happen if I do not get this corrected. Words and phases like, “high blood pressure,” “stroke,” “a weakened heart,” and “failure of other organs” spewed out of his mouth. Then it dawned upon me that my problem is more than just snoring at night.

As I was driving back home, I thought about how we are such creatures of habit. I realized that for a portion of my life (remembering back to my college days) some of the symptoms of sleep apnea were clear, but I was ignorant. I was used to getting only 4 hours of sleep and feeling so tired that I thought it was just my lack of sleep. But in reality I was depriving my body of oxygen, so even if I got 7 hours I would have been still be tired. Only by God’s grace I have made it this far.

It was humbling to know that there were many factors that contributed to my sleep apnea and that there was nothing I could really do in my will power. The size of my tonsils and my tongue play a part in constricting my air passage way. Hmm… I guess the writer of the book of James was correct – “But no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8).

Now, we have to talk about options for treatment. Hopefully, this can get cleared up (pun intended) soon. Another constant reminder: Life is really about trusting and depending on God for everything… even our next breath.

NU Church Plant Update – 7.24.06

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

Since I missed two Sundays with the NU group due to my trip to India, I was thrilled to meet up with everyone again. It is nice to have somewhat of a consistent place to meet at the Homestead Inn. We started off with dinner and some time of fellowship. Our conversations ranged from my trip to India to some blunders we’ve made in lives – some of the stories were hilarious – we were laughing together instead of laughing at one another ;-) But the laughter was good. People say that the level of laughter is a good predictor of group dynamics. We had a lot of it this past Sunday.

After settling down a bit, we went into a time of praise and looked into God’s Word. The passage that we studied was from Acts 11:19-12:25. Some of the key lessons were:

1) We saw that v. 19 was part of the fulfillment of Acts 1:8. Due to the persecution at that time, the followers of Jesus were scattered all through Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the other parts of the world. They were telling people about the good news of the Gospel. We really envision this church in Evanston to be the hub of many more house churches to be planted all over the greater Chicagoland area.

 

2) The phrase, “the Lord’s hand was with them” in v. 21 is significant. Usually, a person can tell if God’s hand is on someone or something – there is usually God’s favor that just follows that person. In some ways, we can look at it as if that person has God’s anointing upon them. This is what we need as we start off this new church plant – we need God’s favor and anointing. On one hand, there is nothing we can do to get it. God’s favor is unmerited and there is nothing we can do to earn it. But then on the other hand, God’s anointing comes to those who are consecrated and wholly surrendered to Him.

 

3) It is interesting to note the importance of the church in Antioch. Not only was it the place where the disciples were first called Christians, but it was the place where the whole apostolic paradigm came into play. First of all, Barnabas and Paul spent time there teaching the Christians (for a whole year). They were laying down the foundations for the Christian faith and building up a strong local church. Secondly, we notice the use of the prophetic gifts. In fact, some prophets from the mother church in Jerusalem came to Antioch to help build up the church. Lastly, there was a sense of connection between the churches. When the word of prophesy came about a future famine, people from the church gave and supported their brothers and sisters in Christ. The churches were connected and had concern for one another. This is something that we need to see in this new church plant. Not only HMCC, but all the AMI churches will be supporting this new churh, whether it is by prayer, financial help or through other resources.

 

4) We also talked about expectancy and faith when it comes to prayer. It is interesting that in the story of Peter’s miraculous escape from prison, the disciples could not believe that what they were praying for actually came true. In 12:5 it says, “the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” But then in 12:15-16 all the disciples were saying to Rhoda, “You’re out of your mind.” Even when she kept on insisting that it was actually Peter, they say, “It must be his angel.” How hilarious is that? They were praying for a miracle and then God answers their prayers with a miracle but then they do not believe. Finally we notice, “Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished” (v. 16). We need to lift up some bold prayers for this new church plant and we need to BELIEVE that God will answer those prayers.

 

5) We also talked about the power of a testimony. In v. 17, we see Peter describing how “the Lord” had brought him out of prison. All the attention and focus was on God – it was all of God’s doing that brought forth this joyous time for the believers. We want to build a testimonial culture in our new church. There are several things that begin to happen when we learn how to give a testimony – a) it reinforces what we have experienced and causes our heart to be thankful; b) it encourages people to believe in a God that is for us and not against us; c) it produces greater faith in other people b/c they begin to think – “if God can work in that person’s life, then surely He can work in mine; d) it give all the glory, honor and praise to God and God alone. May we never be silent.

After our study, we worshipped some more and then spent the rest of our time praying. One thing we did differently was to have people spend some time alone in prayer and to listen to God. We were listening and waiting for God to put some of His burdens regarding this church plant in our hearts. Whatever the burdens were, we ended up going around in the circle and praying for those burdens. It was so awesome to see that many of the burdens that people received from the Lord were translated into prayers.

I cannot believe we are going to head into August soon and then in about 1.5 months we are going to start the church. God is already doing some great things… we are humbled and thankful.

Playing Catch-up

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values

As soon as I arrived in Michigan, I spent the last two days with the family (it has been non-stop activities at 100 mph). It was almost as if the kids were stockpiling all the things that they wanted to do with daddy and then when I arrived, they bombarded me with things to do. We played monster (those of you who are not parents… don’t worry about it), we went out to eat, we watched a movie, we played a board game and the activities went on and on.

Even though I had to fight the jetlag, it was well worth it. It felt good reconnecting with Christina and the kids by spending time together as a family. But as we were driving into the garage (from one of the outings), a thought came to my mind and I shared it with Christina – “Sweetie, what if our children grow up saying to me, ‘Daddy, can you hurry up and leave for somewhere so that when you come back we can have fun!’”

At that moment, I realized that in my “time” lost with the kids due to the missions trip to India, I wanted to catch-up on all the missed playing times with the kids. Hence, the chaotic schedule of non-stop activities in a two day period. It brought back to mind the words that Christina shared many times before – “Honey, it is consistency that we need from you!”

How many times do we play “catch-up” in our lives? How many times could we have avoided the 100 mph lifestyle if we just consistently accomplished what God wanted us to accomplish on a daily basis?

I find myself playing catch-up in every area of my life – my spiritual life, my physical exercise commitment, my relationships with people, my dissertation… it never seems to stop.

I am praying that God will allow me to be “present” and faithful to everything that He is calling me to do. Then, hopefully, when everything is all said and done, I will be able to hear Christ say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Mt 25:21).

2006 India Update 6

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

The Church Planters and Leadership Conference went well. We were able to pray for many of the pastors and their specific areas and churches. It was a wonderful time of renewal and re-focusing on the vision and mission of planting churches in the unreached places. Many of these pastors have been persecuted for their faith, but they had so much joy in being called into the ministry and preaching the Gospel.

We headed back to Delhi on Wednesday late afternoon. After arriving in Delhi around 11PM, we ended up getting up at 4AM to take a trip out to Arga for some R&R. Even though it was raining, we had the opportunity to see one of the Seven Wonders of the World – the Taj Mahal.

Although we got to the airport around 2.5 hours before our flight, it was still a bit tight due to all the people and security checks. After the 14.5 hour plane ride back to Chicago, the GCC team and HMCC team split off to our respective destinations back home.

Our team will have to debrief and try to process everything that God was teaching us on this trip. Overall, we serve a faithful God that loves His people in India more than we will ever comprehend. We are just thankful that God invited us to be a part of what He was doing in India. Now the hard part is trying to apply everything that we have learned in our context. But one thing is for sure – we will never be the same.

NU Church Plant Update – 7.16.06

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

This update posted by Pastor Pete while Pastor Seth is in India.

We had another good visit to Evanston yesterday. I realized through the evening that we were laying the foundation for this church plant not only through the knowledge and principles gained in studying the Word together, but also in the relationships and community that are continually being built. God has given us one another because “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). We need to continue growing closer to Christ and closer to each other if we want to build a church that will transform the world.

After eating dinner, we broke up into smaller groups to discuss Acts 9:32-11:18, and then we came back together to share our discoveries. Some pivotal events occured in these chapters as the story of Acts shifts momentarily from Paul to Peter. God taught us many lessons in these stories; here are just a couple of things that we learned:

  • As one of Christ’s disciples, Peter observed and participated in Christ’s ministry of healing and preaching God’s Word. Peter now demonstrates these same traits by raising a woman from the dead, preaching the gospel, and bringing along his own disciples as he ministers to people. Reading this, we knew that this pattern of discipleship and ministry needs to be continued in us.
  • Up to this point in Acts, the gospel had not been preached to the Gentiles. When Peter visited Cornelius and shared the good news with his household, a new frontier of ministry opened up to the early church. The Gentiles, having received the gospel and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, were now also included in God’s kingdom. We saw God’s heart for the nations in this passage, and were encouraged to be people who reach out beyond any worldly boundaries to become a multi-ethnic church that engages in God’s mission to the world.

In the end, we saw that these things happened in the early church because a few people were obedient to God’s calling. Even though they didn’t understand why God directed them in certain ways, they stepped out in faith and trusted Him to fulfill His purposes for their lives. Moving forward with this church plant, we want to be people who are obedient to His voice just as these early disciples were.

We ended our time together by praying for God to use our church to make him known to every tongue, tribe, and nation. We prayed for the AMI missions teams currently on the field, for evangelism in the Northwestern campus and the Chicago area, and for obedience in our own hearts to follow God’s leading. I knew that He would be pleased to answer our prayers because they reflected His heart for the world.

2006 India Update 5

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

Praise God! After a long ordeal and the efficiency of Indian bureaucracy (hint of sarcasm), I got my new passport and my exit visa to leave the country. Now, I will be leaving on a midnight train back to Dehra Dun to meet up with the team (no pun intended with Gladys Knight and the Pips song… if you were born after 1975 you probably have no idea what I am talking about… don’t worry about it… it’s all good).

The person that issued the passport was very suspicious of me. I guess he got a copy of my old passport where I had my clean cut look. He looked at me and then the photocopy of my old passport – he looked 3 times. Then he called one of his colleagues over and asked if that was me. Now, I had 2 people staring at me. Then he decided to ask me questions such as: Why are you in India? Are you married? Are you running away from something? My simple response – “I know what you are thinking… why the long hair, the goatee, etc… well, let’s just say it is an early mid-life crisis.” I was able to get a chuckle from him and the passport.

I am getting ready to preach at the Church Planters and Leadership Conference tomorrow. Many of these leaders are overseeing 20+ churches in their areas and villages. Please pray for me and the team as we minister God’s Word to the people.

2006 India Update 4

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

We had the opportunity to visit the Ganges River the other day. It was an incredible sight. There were literally hundreds of thousands of people all lining up along the river to dip into the water. There were also many people who were carrying ornaments on their shoulders to offer to the Hindu gods. It reminded me of the passage in Isaiah 44 – “This is what the LORD says – Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come – yes, let him foretell what will come. Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one. All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame. Who shapes a god and casts an idol, which can profit him nothing? From the rest he makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and says, ‘Save me; you are my god.’ They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand.” (Isa 44:6-10, 17-18). We are praying that God will open their eyes to the truth.

We also went into an area where all the churches in the surrounding villages would meet together in joint worship once a month. It was amazing to hear how some people would walk 30-40 miles just to go to this service. Many of these churches are house churches and they would come together as a bigger Body to worship and encourage one another. This area is known for the spiritual warfare due to several holy sites for the Hindu gods. In fact, the pastor that we met had a special anointing for deliverance ministry – a.k.a demon casting. Almost half of their congregation were people that came to know the Lord after Pastor Reggie casted out a demonic spirit in them.

We experienced the demonic spirit first-hand because after my message and during the prayer time, there were some ladies that were manifesting some demonic spirits. Therefore, we had to pray over these women and cast out the demons. We then spent some time praying for the area and for God to break some of the strongholds. After the meeting was over, we went to the pastor’s house for some fellowship.

One thing I am being reminded about is the generosity of the Indian people. Their hospitality is hard to beat… I think it is just in all the Asian cultures. The thought that constantly goes through my mind is – “how can people with so little give so much?” But then again, it just reaffirmed a lesson that I learned a while back… it is the people that do not have much that are usually the ones that give the most. Oh how subtle is the sin of hoarding and greed! The tendency is that the more we have, the less we want to give.

The team members are doing well. Some of us are still trying to overcome our colds. Please continue to pray for us. We are now just getting ready for the important Church Planters and Leaders Conference starting from 18th-19th.

2006 India Update 3

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

Today, the team and I went into another state that was about 2 hours away to do some ministry. We entered into a school that was started by the ministry that we are working with here. It was good to see how a school can be an open door for the love of God to be shared. Since education is highly regarded in India, they are using this avenue to make an impact in the villages. It was exciting to see many Muslims and people from Hindu background attending this school. What was more amazing was the fact that many of these children were singing Christian songs and even hearing Bible stories. At first I thought it was very subversive and misleading for the families of the Muslim and Hindu background, but they told me that everyone knows and understands it is a Christian school and that the students were going to be taught Christian things. This really captured my attention. I was reminded once again how important the avenue of education is in some parts of the world and it is a great tool for evangelism. In fact, the Word of God is being planted in these children and some day it will take fruit and bring forth transformation. As the prophet Isaiah said in Isaiah 55:11, “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

We then went to a church planters gathering to minister with God’s Word. We also spent some time in prayer for the leaders. It was humbling to see people who are on the frontlines risking their lives to proclaim the Gospel. I had a message that I was going to share with them but as we were singing some songs, the Lord prompted me to preach a different message. As I shared God’s Word, I realized how many of them were in need of encouragement. They needed to be reminded of the fact that God uses “unschooled, ordinary men” (Ac 4:13) to accomplish His will. When people are anointed with His Spirit, they are able to be courageous and lay down their lives for the Gospel.

The need here is very great. There are hundreds and thousands of villages which have yet to hear the Gospel. Many people in these villages are trapped in a religion that constantly puts them in bondage – bondage to fear and bondage of “good works” to earn salvation. The verse in Matthew 9:37-38 came to my mind – “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” All we can do (right now) is pray and ask God to send more workers.

Continue to pray for us. Here are some prayer requests:

1) Pray for God’s anointing as we will be visiting more villages in the next couple of days. There is strong opposition to the Gospel by radical Hindus and Muslims in some of these areas. We need God’s protection.

2) We will also be ministering for Sunday Celebration here at the Bible College. Pray that God will use us to encourage the faculty and students.

3) Some of us have been getting sick, but nothing that is serious. It has been more in the ballpark of cold symptoms and the stomach flu.

2006 India Update 2

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

I ended up going back to Delhi to straighten out the passport situation. It was kind of hard leaving the team behind in Dehra Dun to fend for themselves, but they were in good hands with our hosts, Uncle George and Auntie Leela.

The car ride back to Delhi was a difficult 8 hour experience. Since it is monsoon season right now in India, the roads were difficult to travel on. Then, after finding out that my driver only got 3 hours of sleep in the last 2 days, I began to worry. I offered to drive since I knew how to drive stick shift (albeit, never with the steering wheel on the right side of the car and on the left side of the street) but he quickly refused. But after the head-on collision, I was on the verge of “telling” him that I needed to drive. At first I thought he was trying to play “chicken” with the oncoming car (you would only understand if you saw how this person was driving), but then I realized that he was falling asleep. It is amazing the stuff that comes out of our mouths when we are at near death moments (I think I said something in a heavenly language).

After sleeping for a few hours, I ended up going to the U.S. Embassy early next morning. God’s grace and favor was truly upon me because the process went faster and smoother than expected. Now I just need to wait for the passport to get processed and then obtain an exit visa so that I can leave the country. Due to the fact that my train ride back to Dehra Dun was at 11PM, I spent the rest of the day fellowshipping with couple of the brothers working with brother George. I also had the privilege of preaching and ministering to several families at a house church in one of the poor neighborhoods.

On my train ride back to Dehra Dun, I was just struck with God’s sovereignty. In the process of trying to get a new passport, I was able to:

1) Build a stronger relationship with Saju, one of the key pastors and leaders in Delhi.
2) Eat some of the best butter chicken and chili chicken in India.
3) See various sites in the center of the city as we were going back and forth to the U.S. Embassy.
4) Meet a brother who translated for me back in November 2005 – he just recently moved to Delhi a day and a half ago. Coincidence?
5) Minister in a house church and saw the power of relational evangelism.
6) Gain a greater burden and vision for India.

All this was possible because of a lost passport. I was once again humbled by my limited perspective. God is always in control and He knows what He is doing even when we have no clue. Even though Satan was trying to use this whole passport situation to discourage us, God used it for good. How true are the words of God from the prophet Isaiah, “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isa 55:8-9).

The team is doing well. We have been meeting up with the Bible College students. We also have been leading the chapel times in the morning and spending time in some of the classes. We will be ministering in the various fields where churches have been planted in the next few days. Please keep us in your prayers.

NU Church Plant Update – 7.9.06

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

This update posted by Pastor Pete while Pastor Seth is in India.

A handful of us met yesterday at an inn near the Northwestern campus. It was a smaller meeting since many of the students are away for the summer, and we had a good time of fellowship with one another. I realized that all of the people at the meeting had either come from Ann Arbor for the day or had been part of HMCC in the past, so there was already a sense of connection with each other because of the shared experiences that we had in the church. It gave me hope that we would see God working in similar, or even greater, ways at this new church plant.

After dinner we studied Acts 9:1-31, which is the story of Saul’s encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus. Before we began the Bible study, some of us shared testimonies of how we had encountered God in our lives and how He had brought us to where we are today. Between these testimonies and the Bible study, I felt that God was wanting to encourage us with His power to transform lives.

We ended the meeting by praying together for our new church plant. We prayed for the people who would come to the church with faith that God would build a testimony in each one of their lives, and we asked God to help us be obedient to the calling He has given us. As we were praying, I was reminded that it is out of our own experiences with God, and the grace that we have received from Him, that we are able to minister to others, and I knew that God wanted to use this group of people to build His church.

India 2006 Update 1

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

We arrived safely late Saturday night (early Sunday morning) and the team is finally all together. It has been an interesting missions trip so far. Here is a break down of the last 4 days:

1) Our flight out of Chicago to Delhi got cancelled due to engine problems. We ended up sleeping at a hotel.
2) Our flight next morning got cancelled again.
3) We scrambled to find another way to get out to Delhi – barely found one connecting in London and then to Delhi.
4) One of the team members could not get on therefore we had to leave two people behind.
5) On our train ride out to Derha Dun, I had my fanny sack stolen! I had my wallet, passport, credit cards, return train tickets and a lot of money in cash.
6) Missed the World Cup finals.

It has been crazy. I am in Delhi now trying to get into the US Embassy so that I can get a new passport. As I am separated from the team, I have had some time to reflect. It is sobering realizing that we are never in control of things and if God had to take me thousands of miles to India to RE-TEACH me this lesson then I praise God. Here are some things that the Lord placed in my quiet times of reflection:

1) God is always in control and His purposes cannot be thwarted. God is always working things out for the good… ALWAYS (Ro 8:28).

2) Spiritual warfare is real. Even though God is in control, there is always opposition from Satan to hinder the work of God and to discourage God’s people. There is an important Church Planters and Leadership Conference that I will be leading in my time here. Now, I am wondering if Satan knows the ramifications of this conference if the people of God experience Him in a powerfully way.

3) It is always about perspective. Through this God is teaching our team to depend on Him more and always to pray, which is a good thing. Through this we have been more unified, which is a good thing. Through this I have had some alone time to seek God’s face, which is a good thing. Through this I have had time to talk and build relationships with some of the key workers who have been helping me. And the lost passport, wallet, money, etc.? I didn’t like my passport picture anyways so I can get a new one. It was time for a new wallet anyway. I had the privilege of blessing the nation of India with money albeit some group of kids are going to live it up for a whole year.

I will try to update as often as I can. Please continue to pray for us.

This passage came into my mind this morning:

“Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. We live by faith, not by sight” (2 Co 4:1, 7-12, 15-18; 5:7).