Future Technology

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Vogue

Do you remember the movie, Minority Report, starring Tom Cruise? I remember watching the scene where Cruise used a glove and a big glass screen to move various computer applications. I was thinking to myself, “We are going to have that kind of technology some day.” Now, four years later, we have the beginning stages of what is going to be a reality soon.

Technology and Church have somewhat of an anomalous relationship. When there is too much technology in the Church, some people get suspicious and even try to lay the charge that “we are becoming too much like the world.” When some churches lag behind, they become ineffective and lose the cutting edge in reaching a whole new generation. Do we need a balance? Possibly.

But why is it that the Church is always the last one to hop on the train? This is the reason why we have been accused of always copying the world. What would it be like if the Church came up with some of the newest high-tech discoveries? What would it be like if the world began to look to the Church for insights and ideas? We cannot let the world out-do the Church!

Check out this new technology that I can definitely see the Church utilizing for spreading the Gospel. It is called a touch-driven computer screen. Absolutely incredible!

One day, sermons will be given with a 3D holographic image of Moses splitting the Red Sea, or Paul preaching at Areopagus… or how about visiting Golgotha and actually being able to witness the crucifixion… it will be very sobering to say the least.

BBQ Update 3

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

This was the third group of leaders that we had over to our house. It was hard adjusting as the host, since I just got back from Chicago and had to help cook right away. I realized that traveling back and forth to Chicago takes a toll on the body and mind.

For some reason, as we were eating together, our conversation turned toward the topic of pets and animals. I can’t believe the number of people who love animals. I was informed that if I checked out www.cuteoverload.com, I would fall in love with animals. Hmm… I checked it out and my heart still remains steadfast.

NU Church Plant Update – 8.14.06

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

We are 6 weeks away from officially launching the church plant.

The text that we studied this past Sunday was Acts 17:16-18:28. There were three things that we highlighted in this passage:

1) The PREPARATION of people’s hearts – It is sobering to think that God is at work long before we actually arrive at a place – hence, reminding us once again that it is God’s work and not ours. When we look all throughout the book of Acts, we notice that whenever the apostles would go into a city and preach the Gospel, there were always people who responded to the message. It was as if there was a divine appointment. In Acts 17:34, we notice that this was the case in Athens for Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, and Damaris. In Corinth, Aquila and his wife, Priscilla, were ready to receive the Gospel message (Ac 18:2). Even Crispus, a synagogue ruler, and his entire family came to know the Lord (Ac 18:8). Was it Paul’s incredible speaking ability? Was it the latest method or program? All we can conclude is that God was working in the hearts of these people, and when Paul faithfully obeyed God by going and preaching the Gospel, the people responded. As we look at Northwestern and the greater Chicagoland area, there will be many people that God is already preparing for the reception of the Gospel message. This is all the more reason why we need to be on our knees in prayer – b/c prayer reminds us that it is God’s work and that it is God who is working.

2) The PREACHING of the Gospel
– As we turn the pages of the book of Acts, we cannot help but to notice an important trend. Whenever the apostles entered into a new city, their primary focus and priority was to preach the Gospel. They did it in Athens, Corinth, Thessalonica, Berea, Salamis, Pisidian Antioch, Debre, Perga, Philippi, and the list of cities goes on and on. After doing church in Ann Arbor for 10 years, I realize that it is easy for a church to stray from the priority of preaching the Gospel. Please don’t get me wrong… discipleship, fellowship, worship and all the other important components of church-life are important, but too often we keep on forgetting that preaching of the Gospel has to be at the forefront of the church’s mission. This is something that we need to commit ourselves to as we start this new church. We must preach the Gospel to those who are spiritually lost. The Gospel message has to also penetrate into the hearts of the believers – as we have been saying here in Ann Arbor, “We must wake up each morning and look in the mirror, then preach the Gospel to ourselves.”

3) The PIONEERING of new places for planting churches – The early church was consumed with the passion to see a viable and visible witness of the Gospel in every city. They understood the important principle that “church” was not a building but it was the people of God (ekklesia = the called out ones). Through the “called out ones,” the visible witness of the Gospel was going to shine. As the priority of preaching the Gospel was taken seriously, people came to know the Lord and started to make up the church. Once the church was established, Paul would often stay at that place to build up the believers (Ac 18:11, 18, 23). But the amazing part of all this is that Paul never stayed in one place for too long. He was consumed with the mission of seeing more cities being filled with visible witnesses of the Gospel by planting churches through the recent converts. Is this how church is supposed to be done? Are we entering into a new era of the Church? Instead of the mega-churches that we are so familiar with, is it possible that we are revisiting the days of the book of Acts, where there were “multi-churches”? There are so many cities and neighborhoods where the visible witness of the Gospel is not evident. We are entering into the days of the apostolic church, where the pioneering spirit is alive and well. The passion to plant more churches is capturing the hearts of God’s people. This is one of the key DNA that we would love to see in this new church plant. Isn’t this what the early church did? We affirmed this as we studied our passage – Ac 18:1, 18, 21b, 22-23.

We ended out time together in prayer. We prayed for these things to come to pass in our new church. We also spent some time praying for one another. The foundations are being laid and the vision is pressing us forward.

Airport Security

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

As I was planning out my flight from DTW to ORD, I made sure that I got rid of all liquids, gels, shampoo and toothpaste. Bottom line – I was traveling even lighter than I normally travel with my luggage. After going through the security check, I was pulled over for an “extra” security check. The security lady opened up my luggage and found my deodorant. For the next 5 minutes I was trying to convince her that it was not a gel deodorant. I tried to explain that it was a solid anti-perspirant. She disagreed and said it was in the gel form. Out of my stubbornness I told her to open it up and double check (personally, I didn’t want to buy another one). She angrily opened up the deodorant and turned the dial. She then began to explain the chemistry and the material science of deodorants (simply, she was schooling me).

She then said I had three options (I like options):
1) Go out of security and go to the ticket counter and check-in my little luggage
2) Go out of security and give the items to the person who dropped me off at the airport
3) Give it to them to discard

Hmm… the first two options were too inconvenient, but the 3rd option seemed like such a waste. So, I proposed a 4th option. The security lady raised her eyebrows in response to my defiance. I told her that I did not like the three options that she gave me. I said, “How about a 4th option? I will donate it to you or to the airport community of Detroit.” With a small chuckle she trashed it in a bin with all the other toothpastes, hairsprays, shampoos, colognes, perfumes, gels and deodorants.

For some reason, it was easier to relinquish my possessions if I perceived it as a donation. But then again, the word “donation” still has the sense of ownership of the possession. I am wondering what would happen if we saw everything in our lives as God’s property. Then, relinquishing it would be easier whenever God asks for it.

BBQ Part 2

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

We finished off another BBQ at our home with the leaders. I am getting better at the grill. I guess the phrase, “practice makes perfect” applies here. It has been fun interacting with the various groups of leaders. The conversations that we had with the group of leaders today were totally different from the first group. But both were enjoyable and our family got to know the leaders better.

For some reason, today it really brought back memories of the early years in our church when our church was small. We were really living out the Acts 2 church… sharing in a meal, fellowship and just enjoying each other’s presence. It felt like a house church. Maybe this is the way we have to do church.

But one thing is sure – as the leaders are growing and getting blessed, the members in our church will be growing and getting blessed. This would be a sign of a healthy church. If this can happen this coming year, I would be ecstatic. Lord, let it be!

HMCC 10th Anniversary

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Vision

It’s hard to believe that this fall will mark the 10th year of our church. As I look back at all that God has done, I’m filled with amazement and thankfulness. God has carrried out the mission and vision in so many people whose lives were transformed here at HMCC, and who are now transforming the world, whether in other states or in other countries. Of course, there have been times of difficulty as well as times of great joy along the way, but as I look back, I know it was all worth it. God has proven Himself to be faithful time and time again, and truly all glory goes to Him.

I am looking forward to our Tenth Anniversary Weekend, which will take place from September 29th to October 1st. The weekend will be packed with gatherings for our church members and alumni, special presentations through various forms of multimedia and arts, a formal dinner banquet, and a monumental Sunday Celebration at the U of M’s Power Center. Can you imagine, all the generations of people whose lives were touched through HMCC, gathered in one place to worship and adore God? It will be a weekend for all to remember, and it’ll be just a taste of what is in store for our future, because we know that the best is yet to come.

It is my sincere desire that much of our extended church family will reunite in Ann Arbor to celebrate together, in one place. We would love for people to reconnect and share testimonies of how God is using them to build His Kingdom all around the world.

You can RSVP and find more details and information at: http://www.hmcc.net/tenthyear/

NU Church Plant Update – 8.7.06

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

I realized that we are just 7 weeks away from the official launch of our church (now about 47 days and counting). I briefly mentioned to the whole group the similarities between giving birth to a church and giving birth to a child. As the days get closer to the actual “delivery” date, there is greater excitement, anticipation and expectation. As we were driving home, Christina said, “That was a good illustration.” As I was about to pat myself on the back, she then continued, “Well, don’t forget that the labor is difficult and the first few months are hard.” I was going to respond by saying, “I heard that the labor pains were not that bad”… j/k… I am totally joking. I have personally witnessed 3 of them (Christina decided to go natural with all 3) and I can confidently say, “Thank God for the Y chromosome.”

This week we went over Acts 15:36-17:15. After breaking up into smaller groups to discuss this passage, we got together to share our various insights. It was encouraging to hear people’s observations. As I was looking over this section, I could not help but notice some of the key DNA that I would love to see in this new church plant:

1) Being culturally relevant (15:1-5) – It was pretty incredible to see that Paul had Timothy circumcised in order to minister unto the Jews in Derbe and Lystra. So often we go to the two extremes when it comes to engaging our culture – isolation or integration. When we isolate ourselves from the world, we are not able to live out our calling as “the salt and light” of the world. But if we integrate everything that the secular world does then people will wonder, “what is the difference?” If we are serious about transforming the world, then we have to engage the culture by being relevant yet distinct. It is always easier said than done.
2) Being sensitive to the Holy Spirit (15:6-10) – As Paul was about to enter into Troas, he received a vision of a man begging him to come to Macedonia. Then in v. 10, it says, “we got ready at once.” In 2 Co 2:12-13, Paul writing to the people of Corinth gives us a further insight to the situation. He mentions, “I still had no peace of mind” (2 Co 2:13). Even though the door was opened, Paul was sensitive to what the Holy Spirit was saying to him. Too often, we find ourselves listening to our flesh or human wisdom. What would happen if the Holy Spirit was leading and directing us? Maybe we would stop doing some things… maybe we would start doing some things.
3) Evangelizing to all types of people (16:13-15) – In this section we see various types of people coming to know the Lord. They all had different backgrounds and even socio-economic status, but they all experienced the power of the Gospel. Lydia, a businesswoman (16:14); slave girl (16:16-18); jailer (16:30-34); and aristocrats (17:4). The Gospel knows no bounds – it encompasses very person on this planet. Then, why is it that churches usually attract a homogenous group of people?
4) The experience of the miraculous (16:16-34) – Time and time again, the apostles performed miraculous signs – whether it was casting out demons, healing the sick, raising people from the dead or open up prison doors. The power of God was always displayed. The greatest miracle will always be a transformed heart, but we are still hungering for a day when God’s power is manifested to all peoples.
5) The power of prayer and worship (16:25-26) – Just like Acts 12, when the people were praying for Peter’s release from prison, we see God doing something miraculous. There is power in prayer and in worship. We want to bring that kind of anointing in our worship and praise as well as in our prayer lives. No matter how conscious and sensitive a person wants to be towards seekers and pre-Christians, what they need to see is the demonstration of God’s power in their lives – and often times the only way they can experience it is through prayer and worship.
6) The truth of Scripture (17:10-15) – The Bereans “received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day” (Acts 17:11). Jesus said in Jn 8:32, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” If the Word of God is the truth, then there is something that must happen when God’s people study and receive God’s Word. The Body of Christ must be prepared and equipped with God’s truth to carry out its mission.

Then, we closed out our time by spending some time in prayer. God is continuing to do a good work in our hearts and we give God all the glory.

BBQ and Princesses

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

Yesterday we had some of the leaders over to our place for a barbeque. As our church continues to grow, it is getting harder to know even the leaders in our church. By inviting a smaller group of people over to our home, the family and I are able to connect with them in a greater way. They also have the opportunity to see me in a different setting. Sometimes seeing a person up on a stage can create what I call “a DUMB picture” of the person. DUMB? – “Distorted, Unrealistic, Misunderstood, and Bogus” picture of the person. I hope the picture became a little bit clearer :-)

We were all amused when Karissa brought her princess dress and all her shoes downstairs. She ended up giving us a fashion show. As I was watching her, I was thinking to myself… “I guess the shoes and the dress thing starts at an early age for the girls.” Then, we decided to figure out who were all the “tom-boys” and “princesses” amongst the women in the group… very interesting to say the least.

Motivated by Pride

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Viewpoint

Before the summer started, Christina and I talked about accomplishing some things around the house. One project that she wanted me to do was to put up the bike racks in the garage so that there will be less clutter. The months of May, June, and July quickly passed. I had good reasons why the task was not accomplished at this point (I guess procrastinators have a “good” reason for everything).

Then couple of days ago Christina said, “This weekend one of my girlfriends is coming over and if you do not put up the bike racks then I am going to put it up with her help!” Wow! She didn’t have to say anything else. Several things went through my mind:

1) I can’t believe I haven’t put it up yet and the summer is almost over.

 

2) I cannot fail in keeping my promise – I will lose my credibility with the boys b/c I have been trying to teach them about being a promise keeper.

 

3) I refuse to allow my male ego to be wounded by 2 women.

I think it was the 3rd reason that motivated me the most – pretty pathetic huh? Please don’t misunderstand me… I am not a male chauvinist; and women can put up bike racks as well as men, but the thing that motivated me was the possibility of someone else doing what I promised I would do – ultimately it wounded my integrity. I realized how I did not want to look like a fool. Sometimes our pride has to get exposed in order for us to stay humble.

It was about 90+ degrees today but with the heat index, it felt like 100 degrees. As I was finishing the last bike rack and totally drenched in sweat, I was thinking maybe I could have procrastinated for 2 more days :-)

The 626 Mandate

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Vision

In about a month (September 1st), all the AMI churches around the world will start “The 626 Mandate.” It is a prayer movement. We will be committing ourselves to 24/7, 40 days of non-stop, unbroken prayer chain.

This mandate comes directly from Isaiah 62:6-7 (NIV), “I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.” (italics mine).

The New Living Translation says, “O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will pray to the LORD day and night for the fulfillment of his promises. Take no rest, all you who pray. Give the LORD no rest until he makes Jerusalem the object of praise throughout the earth.” (italics mine).

The Contemporary English Version says, “Jerusalem, on your walls I have stationed guards, whose duty it is to speak out day and night, without resting. They must remind the LORD and not let him rest till he makes Jerusalem strong and famous everywhere.” (italics mine).

If there is anything worth losing sleep over, it is to pray unceasingly for God to be famous everywhere. This requires our commitment and faithfulness to prayer. Jesus reminds us that, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:4-5).

For the next 30 days, I will be talking about this regularly. It will be important for everyone to listen to the sermon that I gave about prayer this past Sunday. Please click here and listen to the sermon called, “The Night Before – Pt 1: Jesus Prays For Himself.” I gave a brief vision and strategy for The 626 Mandate. After listening to the sermon, I want to encourage you to sign up for a slot. It is my desire to see every single person in our church to sign up for a slot. Let’s do our fair share to make this movement become a reality.

I can’t wait to see what God will do in these 40 days of prayer… the story is continuing…