2007 NCAA Final Four Update

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

These were our final four picks:

• Dad – Florida, Kansas, Ohio St., North Carolina
• Mom – Florida, Kansas, Georgetown, Ohio St.
• Josiah – Wisconsin, Pittsburgh, North Carolina, Ohio St.
• Elliot – Florida, Kansas, Ohio St., North Carolina
• Karissa – Texas A&M-CC, VCU, New Mexico State, Albany (no comment)

The scenarios:

• If Florida wins it all then, Dad will win it all
• If Ohio St. wins it all then, Elliot and mom will win it all (we will need a tie breaker)
• If Ohio St. and Florida loses, Elliot and mom will still win it all

Excellence in the Public Square

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values

Misspelled Virginia.jpg
Picture from the Associated Press
Look closely at the picture and see if you can find something wrong. Hint: what state became the 35th state to enter into the Union in 1863?

Yup, that is correct – West V-I-R-G-I-N-A

After the West Virginia Mountaineers won 78-73 over Clemson in their first NIT title in 65 years, they wore their championship t-shirt proudly. But the problem was that there was a typo –it says, “West Virgina” instead of “West Virginia”… they forgot to up the letter “i” after the letter “n.” You know it is not a good situation when people are now making sarcastic remarks about West Virginians.

No big deal, right? We all make mistakes, right? To err is human, right?

Well… I think it would have been “ok” if it was a family thing and only a handful of people saw the mistake. But hello, this is national T.V. and now public news. I am wondering if the problem goes beyond just the person who misspelled “Virginia” (supposedly it was someone from the NIT committee). The snowball effect is affecting the image of West Virginia University and even the people of West Virginia.

How can this be huh? Just from one typo?!

Yes, it is all about perception.

At first I was like, “what’s the big deal?” I don’t know how many times I have misspelled words (I am double checking right now on this entry) and even made a lot of blunders along the way – ask my wife or even my church members. We just need to give grace along the way.

But on the other hand, this is a good lesson on excellence. I am wondering how people view Christ and even the Church when we fail to do things with excellence. I understand that whenever I talk about excellence, people think I am just addressing the issues of presentational things, but I fully acknowledge that the meaning is vast. We must be “excellent” in building biblical community, studying, praying, etc. and not just in music, website, publications, etc.

But whether we like it or not, the way we do things (which entails representing Christ in the things that we present) will give a certain image or perception to people, especially those who are not yet in the family of God.

We just don’t want to add to people’s stereotypes. Let’s us not give people another reason for people to reject Christ. It is my prayer that people at HMCC will be able to do things with the highest standards because we don’t want people to be hindered or repelled from see Christ.

The American Dictionary defines something that is excellent as, “of the highest or finest quality; exceptionally good of its kind.” The eternal life that God gives is excellent – one of a kind. Therefore, we should display it boldly in every avenue that God gives us – even on t-shirts.

You can read the article here.

Battling on the Rocks

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

The family and I went to a nearby park. As the kids were playing on the playground equipment, Christina wanted to play an old game that she use to play when she was younger in the Chicago neighorhoods.

Objective of the game was to stand sideways facing each other (kind of like a fencing duel) on top of a 4 inch ledge (made up of rocks). Then with only our hands we were trying knock each other off. First one to fall off loses.

Score: 2-2 tie

Christina decided that we would finish the game at a later time… I think she was scared to lose… haha!

I guess this is what city kids did in Chicago for fun.

Suburban kids did other things that I will not mention here.

Importance of Communication

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Viewpoint

Parking Signs.jpg
This picture was submitted by Jane Gaboury to Mark Hurst.
Taken at a shopping center called, “The Forum” in Norcross, Georgia.

Many headaches and heartaches could be avoided if we all learned how to communicate better. Various conflicts in marriages, friendships, and even in the church arise out of poor communication.

I was thinking about this recently and I realized how helpless a person feels when they find things out after it is too late to do anything about it. So many things could have been cleared up and even resolved, if people would have just communicated better and earlier.

Oh well, this is life… some people just know how to communicate things better and experience greater things while others settle for less and will never get to the next level.

This is something Christina and I are constantly working on.

A Good Test

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values

One topic that Jesus talked about quite often was on the subject of “giving.” It was not just isolated to financial giving but the principle of giving in general. This is probably the case because it reflected his heart… He was going to “give” his life as a ransom for many.

In Luke 12, Jesus tells a parable about a rich man who accumulated a lot of things for himself. But then his very lifestyle was challenged with the prospect of death and the question of “then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” (Luke 12:20).

Sometimes we don’t realize the hold that success and wealth has on us – it is very subtle. Therefore, the best test is to see how we react when things are taken away from us. By the way, this principle can be applied to even relationships or anything that comes in competition with God (I think in the Bible they call this an idol).

I read a CNN article this morning about a Ferrari Enzo car crash that fueled these thoughts. The rare Ferrari Enzo, which is owned by Daniel Sadel, an executive producer of “Redline” is valued at around $1.5 million. There are only 400 Ferrari Enzos that were ever produced in the years 2002 through 2004 – truly a car-lover’s ultimate collector’s item.

In order to promote their new movie, “Redline” comedian, Eddie Griffin was driving it around in a test track. But unfortunately, he crashed the car. In the article Sadek had mixed feelings about the crash. Sadek said, “I’m glad Eddie came out of the crash OK, but my dream car got destroyed. I went to my trailer for about 15 minutes and I thought, there’s people dying every day. A lot of worse things are happening in the world.”

Oh the tension. You got to love it.

This is the tension we have to feel when we are challenged with Jesus’ word, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:34-36).

How many times has God challenged us with these tension filled questions when it came down to our family, finances, friendship, and future decisions?

A good perspective to see if we are holding on to anything but Jesus Christ is to sometimes lose it, no matter how painful it may be.

Daddy/Daughter Lunch Date

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values

Christina volunteered to be a chaperone for Elliot’s field trip, therefore I was assigned pick up duties for Karissa. After I picked her up, we decided to go out to eat. I asked her, “sweetheart, what would you like to eat?” She responded by saying, “MacDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Jimmy John’s.” Hmm…

We ended up at MacDonald’s because Christina has thoroughly convinced ALL our kids that MacDonald has the best fries. To my kids and wife, it is all about the fries!

I just remember a conversation that Christina and I had awhile back about how a father treats her daughter will imprint into her how a man is suppose to treat her. Man, I tell you… I did everything I could to be a gentleman – I am raising the bar :-)

Pride and World-Travelers

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values

Due to all the travel from AA or Chicago, I have gotten to know the airport security and gate check personnel fairly well. In some sense this is a best way to do relational evangelism… as we frequent the same restaurants, stores and places, we are able to build relationships and naturally talk about what we do and even share about Christ. But I digress… back to the main thought.

I have gotten to know one of the security check personnel in Chicago and she always tries to get me to the airline pilot and flight attendant security line – the line DEFINTELY goes faster.

As I was getting things out of my bag, I overheard one of the security personnel telling the person behind me that she had too many bags. She had one over the limit prescribed by TSA. Then a mini-disagreement began to ensue. The traveler began to berate the security personnel and explain that she has “traveled all over the world” (woah) and that she has always been able to bring the three bags on the flights (in some ways, I can see the argument of the traveler because one of the bags was a mini 2-piece luggage set that combined as one). I would have probably let her go through the security check, but whether the TSA person was new or something, she held her ground.

Finally, I suggested that the traveler put the smaller bag in her other bag and then after security quickly pull it out and go about business as usual. She agreed that was the best option and we waited to proceed through the security gate.

After I went through the gate, I heard the alarm go off as the lady was going through. To my surpirse and shock, the lady was trying to roll her roller-luggage through the gate. Then she realized what she did and in her embarrassment tried to explain to the security person and even to me how she was not thinking.

But I was thinking… “hmm, would a “world-traveler” who have “traveled all over the world” do something like that?” I couldn’t help but to wonder what the other TSA security person was thinking. She was probably on the floor laughing.

No matter who we are and where we have traveled, no one is above the law. If we don’t remain humble, God will humble us.

Reconnecting with Pastor Paul

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

Yesterday in HMCC of Chicago we had Pastor Paul Liu and his family join us for our Sunday Celebration. Since many of the people in Chicago do not know Pastor Paul and his ministry in Indonesia, we had him share an update. Then a handful of us went out to eat and just share in fellowship. It was fun just reconnecting and reminiscing about our infamous 1999 Peru summer missions trip… hilarious!

Then this morning, I had breakfast with Pastor Paul as we talked more specifically about missions, church planting, apostolic paradigm, and etc. When we finally looked at our watches, we couldn’t believe time flew by so quickly. In fact, he was late for his next meeting… Pastor Paul just talks too much :-)

300 Spartans

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

I went to see the movie, “300” on IMAX with some of the men in our leadership team. It was pretty inspiring. The movie was a combination of Braveheart and Gladiator all put in one.

Classic ingredients to get a guy pumped up: Heroes… fighting for something worth dying for… loyalty… camaraderie… a traitor… sacrifice… honor… glory. Ah-hoo!

If we only had even 30 people like these Spartans, we will see the world transformed – Ah-hoo!
“Give them nothing! But take from them everything!”
“This is where we fight. This is where they die.”
“Remember this day, men, for it will be yours for all time.”
“Taught never to retreat, never to surrender. Taught that death in the battlefield is the greatest glory he could achieve in his life. Spartans: the finest soldiers the world has ever known.”
“A new age has come, an age of freedom. And all will know that 300 Spartans gave their last breath to defend it.”

Asking for Donations

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values

Every morning at 8:55AM on the local Christian radio station, there is a pretty well-known pastor in the area that comes on to speak (or shall I say share). He runs a rescue mission which helps minister to homeless people, as well as people who are rehabilitating from drugs. Since they want to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ boldly, they are not able to receive governmental support.

This pastor comes on the air and shares about some of the great testimonies of transformation and various things that they are doing in their ministry. Then he shares about the needs of the ministry – it is usually in the form of a certain debt that they have to meet in order to keep the ministry going.

As I hear about the need every single day (I confess… sometimes I change the radio channel at this point), it hits me with some important principles or shall I say important tendencies when it comes to “fundraising”:

1) It is easy for people to get numb when the need is constantly shared over and over again.

2) If there is no ownership of the ministry, then people will most likely not give.
3) Unless a person has been personally affected by the ministry (i.e. came to know the Lord, life was changed in that ministry, etc), the probability of someone giving is slim
4) If the need is something that people are not passionate about then it will be hard for them to give.

As I was thinking about this, it brought me to the passage in Matthew 9:35-38. In Matthew’s account, we see that Jesus was going to various villages to preach the Kingdom of God; and He was even performing many miracles to demonstrate the power of God’s Kingdom. We notice in v. 36, Jesus saw the need – “he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

Then, it is interesting to read what Jesus said next to his disciples. Naturally, we would think that Jesus would have said, “Now, do something about this need!” But instead, Jesus makes an observation and then gives a request.

“Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field’” (Mt 9:37-38).

The twofold observation made by Jesus: a) the harvest is plentiful; b) the workers are few. The request that Jesus makes: pray.

The problem with raising resources for God’s work is that there are a lot of people who are not making the observation. Simply put – they are not seeing what God is seeing. Secondly, people are not valuing what God is valuing. In v. 36, we notice the value that Jesus puts on the people. It literally broke His heart to see them “harassed and helpless.” Lastly, we notice that no human being can motivate people to give by themselves. It is a supernatural work of God which can only be realized through prayer.

Fast forward.

It is interesting how God answered the prayers of the disciples who probably prayed when Jesus told them to ask God to “send out workers into his harvest field.” We sometimes become the answer to our own prayers.

My problem every morning at 8:55AM – I make the wrong observations and I do not ask.

A Long Day

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Viewpoint

Wow… today was a long day. There are times when I just want to lay my head to rest and not wake up for days. It is interesting how certain type of “tiredness” can kill you but then there are other types of tiredness that rejuvenates you.

When people are doing what they love and are passionate about, they don’t get tired of doing what they are tired from – did that make sense?!

Books that Shaped Evangelicals

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Viewpoint

As you know, I love reading. I am always trying to get a hold of books that will enlighten me, exhort me and expand me. I try to read from various genres as well so that I can try to balance out my reading diet.

I came around this article that talked about the top 50 books that shaped evangelicals. Some of the books I have never heard of… some of the books I have read… some of the books I want to read in the future. I was surprised to see some classic books that were not listed. But then again, everything is subjective, right?

Here is the list.

Latte Arithmetic

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

I love Wednesdays. At Espresso Royale Café, they have $2 lattes (plus tax it is $2.12) – any size only on Wednesdays. They also have a frequent buyer card where if you buy any drink, you get a punch card. Then after 10 punches you get one free drink – yup, any free drink – and usually I stack it.

So here are the numbers:

• Large Skim Latte at regular price is $3.45
• 10 Lattes in 10 weeks (2.5 months) at normal price = $34.50
• 1 Large Skim Latte on Wednesday’s is $2.12
• 10 Lattes in 10 weeks (2.5 months) at Wednesday’s price = $21.20
• 1 free Large Skim Latte w/ extra shot of espresso which normally cost $3.95

Therefore the grand total is: I get 11 lattes for only $1.93 each!

The only way Christina will understand is: “Sweetie, we are saving $16.75!… that can be a dinner with the family at Wendy’s.”

For some reason she is not buying into my Latte arithmetic, but it makes complete sense to me.

Raising Generous Kingdom Workers

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values

Couple of days ago, I found out from our finance team that one of our alumni gave a considerable amount to the Transformation Vision. When I found out the exact amount, I was a bit flabbergasted.

After corresponding with the person, I found out that he came to know the Lord through our church and a firm foundation, through discipleship was laid for their faith. This alum is faithfully serving at their current church and participating in generous stewardship.

This just reminded me once again of two things:

1) Lives that are transformed through our church will continue to have ripple effects for the future.
2) When you laid down a good foundation of generosity before “making” the big money, you are more likely to give when you “make it” financially.

I have come to realize that issues of finances is one of the top 3 things that hinder people from living the Christian life with passion and purpose. This is why we are committed to teach and train people in this area – unapologetically!