Recommended Shots

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint

I just came back from getting my immunization for my trips out to Vietnam, China and Kenya. Christina went with me because she needed her shots for our Kenya missions trip in December.

It was a very illuminating experience to say the least.

The health professional that helped us was great. She was very informative and friendly. But as she was going over all the “possible risks” in Kenya my mind was churning. How in the world can we be that “protected” from all the diseases and possible accidents out there? She was reading off the CDC “recommended” immunization and also from the U.S. Travelers Health recommended list.

I couldn’t help but to think – “I don’t need half of the things that she is mentioning… it is not like I have never been out of the country before.” She was recommending that we go to the dentist before we leave because dental care is very poor in developing countries. She was also recommending that we get insurance for emergency evacuation. We asked what that was for – she said, “Just in case you were dying and you need to be flown out to the States for medical attention.” I think probably by the incredulous look on my face, she said that she is only recommending it but that it was not completely necessary.

Afterwards, I was thinking how we all long to be safe and protected. But can we really be 100% safe? There are too many unknowns and factors. Now, please don’t misunderstand me, I am not recommending that we go to the other extreme and endorse being reckless with our health and careless with our human responsibilities. But where do you draw the line?

It just reminded me that my life is truly in the Lord’s hands. As I have said many times before, “we are immortal until we have accomplished everything God has called us to do.”

Sleep Apnea Part 2

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

In one of my earlier posts, I mentioned that I was diagnosed with sleep apnea. Yesterday, I went in for another evaluation. This was a little bit more sophisticated because four different doctors were there to analyze me (they were all ranging from an ENT to an oral surgery). The whole consultation literally took about 4 hours.

I am still waiting for the results of their consultation. Supposedly, in order to get that many doctors in one consultation, I was told either I was a VIP or I had some connections. Trust me, it was because I had some connections – I want to thank the doctors in our church.

But something funny happened that just made me laugh afterwards. I had to fill out a lot of forms. One in particular had me fill out a questionnaire… one of questions asked, “In moments of inactivity (reading, watching TV, etc), do you find yourself dozing off?” I answered it as “mildly true.” After filling out the forms, they put me in a room where I had to wait for the various doctors to come. As I was waiting (moments of inactivity), I dozed off. HA! I wanted to go back and change my answer.

Please pray for me. I realized all the years of getting so little sleep is finally catching up with me.

A Letter from My Son

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values

In Josiah’s Christian school, they had the 4th graders write a letter to their pastors for Clergy Appreciation Month. Hmm… what will Josiah do since his father is the pastor of the church that he attends? Will he address the letter as, “Dear Dad” or “Dear Pastor”? When I first read the letter, it made my eyes misty. No matter how hard ministry is at times, it is stuff like this that causes you love God and your family more.

This is the letter that he wrote:

Dear Pastor Seth,

I want to tell you I appreciate all the things you do for the church. You work really hard to prepare sermons and you have to fly to Chicago every Sunday. You also have to do mission trips. You really have an excitement for God. You usually have to do funerals, weddings, sermons, and have to do hospital visits. It must be really hard doing all that stuff. You preach really well and can be funny. You have to meet with a lot of people and have meetings. You have to fly to other states also. So I want to thank you for all the stuff you do for the church.

   

Sincerely,
Josiah

 
After reading his letter, I wanted to write this open letter to my son:

Dear JoJo,

I just wanted to let you know how much I love you. You make my life so full. Ever since you entered into this world, I made a commitment to God that I would do my best to represent the Heavenly Father to you. It is my desire that you will grow to love God more in a passionate way.

I am so proud of you. Whenever you put your mind to something, you always accomplish it. I have seen you excel in so many things in the last 9 years. You always step up to the plate and accept any challenge that comes your way. You never give up… your persistence and diligence inspires me. I know that you will be “a world shaker and a history maker.”

I love your courage and your desire to always do the right thing. Don’t ever lose these important traits. As you get older, you will face various trials and temptations, but remember God’s grace and calling in your life.

No matter what you do (or what you might not do), I want you to know that my love for you will never change. Your mom and I are committed to you for life. We will be there for you through the thick and thin. We will support you in whatever you aspire to do.

I love watching sports with you. Thanks for being my ESPN newscaster whenever I am away on my travels… your memory for scores and stats are impeccable. I also enjoy going outside and playing football, soccer, baseball and basketball with you and Elliot. Thank God we love eating the same kinds of food, even though at times we cannot tell mommy what we have eaten ;-)

Son, I will continue to pray that you will be a man of courage, compassion and convictions… even though we pray this prayer every day, I am confident that God will strengthen these things in you.

Thanks for remembering clergy appreciation… but remember this… you will always be a beloved son to me.

    

With love,
Dad

The Ten Faces of Innovation

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

Awhile back, a member in our church got a book for me to read. It was a business book written by the founders of IDEO. I just finished it on my flight back to Ann Arbor.

The book talks about strategies that drive creativity throughout an organization and the people that are needed to make things happen. In fact, it talks about 10 specific roles that every company or organization should have in order to make an impact.

It was interesting to note that for every role that was mentioned in the book, I was able to think of someone in our church that matched the description. More and more, I am convinced that a great church is made up of great people… and when you have great people, you can make a great team… and when you have a great team, you can do great things!

It is privilege to serve in Ann Arbor and in Chicago with great people who have counted the cost and who are passionate about transformation.

Clergy Appreciation Finale

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

What a night! Christina and I just came back from a night out together that was completely planned out by 3 small groups in our church. Supposedly, small groups were paired up together to “adopt” a pastor and their families to show their love during the Clergy Appreciation Month.

Various groups and people have already done so much for our family, but tonight was a little special.

They took our kids to Chuck E. Cheese so that Christina and I can just spend the night together at a nice restaurant. We were picked up at our house (2 guys “played” the chauffeur). As soon as we stepped in the car, they had chocolate covered strawberries ready for us. They offered us sparkling juice as we drove away into the night. But the best part was when they cranked up the music for us – it was the best of the 80’s – that is when I knew it was going to be a good night… haha! The details that these guys worked out were impeccable.

HMCC family, I just wanted to thank you again for showing our family so much love. We really felt appreciated in this month of October. You guys are the best!
 
 
 
Night Out for Clergy Appr.JPG

The Religion of Football

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint

My heart was torn today because Michigan was playing Northwestern. It is like asking me to choose between Josiah and Elliot. I love them both, even though they are so different. In the same way, I love both Michigan and Northwestern – (honest confession: “I am learning to love them both”).

The family and I were out this morning and we drove pass the UM football stadium, affectionately know around the world simply as the Big House. It was raining and the weather was cold. But it amazed Christina and me how “dedicated” and “devoted” these fans were when it came to Michigan football.

I sort of commented to Christina that football is like a religion. The fans are so committed – whether it is sunny or it is raining, they are out there faithfully getting ready for the big game.

They are “fools for football.”

Now, if the Church can just be “fools for Christ” (1 Co 4:10a), we might be able to build up His House.

Doers of the Word

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint

This just happened and I wanted to share God’s blessings with all of you.

I think one thing that really encourages a pastor is when their members actively apply God’s Word into their lives. We have been going over Jesus’ sermon in Matthew 5-7 in a series called, “Kingdom Living.” Last week, I talked about doing things “in secret.”

The religious people were warned about how they have received their reward in full because they gave, prayed, and fasted in public for all to see. This fueled their pride and caused them to live a hypocritical life. Instead of a life full of God’s blessings, they practiced a lifeless and hollow religion.

I challenged the people this past week to do things “in secret” so that the only person that would know is God, our Audience of One – this is an automatic pride killer. I also mentioned how this will cause the recipient to be dumbfounded and give glory to God alone.

So, as I was getting ready for tonight’s Friday night ACCESS gathering, someone dropped off a sandwich from Potbelly’s. This “person” sent a courier to deliver the goods and told me that it was a gift from the Lord. I passionately pleaded to find out who it was… but the courier said, “This person doesn’t want to be known because they are applying last week’s message about doing things in secret!” Wow… that made my day. All the hours of sermon preparation was worth it just to have one person respond to God’s Word in obedience.

Lord, even though I don’t know who it is… you do, therefore bless them abundantly.
 
 
 
Btw, this person got the sandwich on wheat bread… Christina will be very, very happy… extra blessings :-)

DEE-TROIT

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

Yesterday our family spent some time going to the Pistons game. I was able to get some $10 tickets – God always provides :-)

It was quite an experience for the kids! With all the lights, music and crazy giveaways, the kids were soaking it all up. When Josiah was younger, I took him to a Pistons game therefore it wasn’t that “new” of an experience for him… but for Elliot and Karissa, it was awe-inspiring.

I really enjoy being able to see people experience something for the first time. It brings great joy to my heart.

I am ok with the kids being a Pistons fan, but when it comes to football and baseball there is no question – Bears and Cubs. They are my first love when it comes to sports.

Here are some pictures from the night:
 
 
Pistons Game1.jpg
 
Got to the game way too early, but we are enjoying the pre-game stuff
 
 
 
Pistons Game2.jpg
 
Now you know why the tickets were $10… still we were able to experience the game
 
 
 
Pistons Game4.jpg
 
We all thought it would have been cool to ride the rocket balloon
 
 
 
Pistons Game3.jpg
 
Nothing beats family time regardless of where we are

Excellence in Everything

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint

I sent out an article to the executive team of our church about the topic of excellence. Then I received an e-mail from one of the leaders in response.

Here is a portion of the e-mail (I normally don’t do post other people’s e-mail but I thought it was pretty significant… and I received permission from this person to post it):

“I don’t think anyone on [the executive team] doesn’t want to do things with excellence. If anything, the problem is that we always emphasize excellence in presentation and production, but when do we ever talk about loving people with excellence? I don’t think I’ve ever heard you present it that way. I know that you feel blessed when people give/do nice things for you, so that’s the way you lead our church, but a lot of people out there (I’d say the vast majority), are looking for something else from a community.”

This person has a valid point because excellence needs to permeate to all aspects of our lives, even in loving people around us – we need to do this with excellence. It is sometimes harder to gauge or measure. But this person’s point is taken – I could emphasize this more when I talk about excellence.

But the question that comes to my mind is – “Is it better to teach about “excellence” in general or to give every single example so that people can understand?” When I teach it in general terms, people have a hard time contextualizing it to specific areas in their lives. If I start using specific examples, then I might miss an area where excellence should be demonstrated or emphasized. Oh, the dilemma.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines “excellence” as, “the state, quality, or condition of excelling; superiority” and “something in which one excels.” I think we have lost perspective over this topic of excellence. It really comes down to some basic questions:

1) Is our heart set on honoring God?
2) What will bring God the maximum glory?
3) Are we doing things to please God or man?
4) Will my actions (or what I produce) help people to see more of God’s glory?
5) Do I inspire people to be amazed at the excellencies of God’s character?
6) Are we doing things better than the world to show that God is worthy of our pursuit of excellence?

With these questions, it WILL ADDRESS all the various contexts a person can possibly think of. The problem is that too many of us dichotomize our lives. But the passion of excellence has to be reflected on all areas of our lives – work, studies, serving the church, etc. Even in loving people, we need to excel and reflect God’s glory.

I pray that we will not excuse ourselves when we do not do things with excellence. God’s glory and honor is on the line. Can people see the excellence of God in us?

Countdown to Season 6

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

I was just thinking…

The Encarta World English Dictionary defines, “anticipation” as, “the feeling of looking forward, usually excitedly or eagerly, to something that is going to happen.”

Mondays will be packed with action again – watch the trailer

Why does the world know how to build anticipation better than the Church?

What would happen if the people of God came with this kind of attitude ever time they came to a Sunday Celebration or a small group meeting? We would probably have more testimonies of God’s power.

It’s More Than A Race

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

Awhile back, I shared about a father-son relationship that inspired me.

Rick Hoyt, who has cerebral palsy, with his dad, Dick Hoyt ran nearly 1,000 marathons and triathlons over 27 years. Wow!

You have to read their testimony for yourself… click here
 
 
Hoyt Family.jpg

Kapsowar’s Project Update 2

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Victories

I got an update from Dr. Steve regarding the mortuary project and I wanted to share it with all of you. It seems like things are on track. If they can have it built by the time our married couples’ missions team goes out in December, then it will be an extra blessing.

Once again, I wanted to personally thank all of you that gave sacrificially to make this project a reality. I know we have been asking you to give to a lot of things within this year, but I just wanted to let you know that your giving is making a difference, not only here locally but globally.

I am reminded of Jn 12:24, when Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

Your sacrificial planting of seeds in God’s work is producing some incredible fruits all over the world.

Here are some pictures:
 
 
Steve Lee - Mortuary4.jpg
 
People working on the main structure of the mortuary
 
 
 
Steve Lee - Mortuary5.jpg
 
The main structure is being completed

A Disruptive Idea?

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Viewpoint

I had breakfast with one of the members this morning. We were talking about various topics but one phrase that caught my attention was “disruptive technology.” The internet is a “disruptive technology” because it changed the way we live. The iPod (which is celebrating it 5th year anniversary) is a “disruptive technology” – it has even changed the way record companies are selling their music.

Isn’t Christianity supposed to be a “disruptive” religion? Isn’t Christ a “disruptive” person? When was the last time we had a “disruptive idea?” An idea that changes the way we live and do things in life.

• Sticking around a place because of a church – truly disruptive
• Giving up our dreams for God’s dreams – very disruptive
• Choosing a job not because of the salary alone – disruptive
• Relinquishing comforts for something greater – extremely disruptive

We need more times of “disruptive-ness” in our lives in order for us to experience change. I love anything that has to do with transformation – sometimes the only way to experience transformation is to welcome “disruption” in our lives!

God at Work in Chicago

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Victories, Viewpoint

Yesterday, we had one of our largest attended Sunday Celebration since the inaugural service. The word is spreading and God is moving. We really sensed the Holy Spirit ministering to the people.

As we have been covering the “Kingdom Living” series, both in AA and Chicago, I am reminded again about the importance of Ac 3:19, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Too often, we don’t experience the “times of refreshing” because we forget the prerequisite – repentance!

We talked about how hypocrisy in our lives will exhaust the life out of us. It makes our lives hollow and lifeless. The cure for hypocrisy? Repentance and accountability.

God is bringing a sense of expectancy to our group for every gathering – we expect God to show up and He does… it doesn’t get any better than this.