New Student Outreach 07

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Victories

The leaders and I were sensing that this year God was going to give us a great harvest of souls and in one day God gave us a glimpse of what He wanted to do.

In the previous new student outreaches, we would plan out activities where we might attract about 100-200 people new students (total) – this is what our yearly attendance record would indicated.

This year as we were planning for the harvest of souls, we released many of the students to plan out the various outreaches through the dorms. The exciting part of all this was that we had a handful of students who were Residence Hall Directors. We purposefully and actively worked with these RH Directors to plan out some events directly in the dorms.

We had various events planned in about 7 different dorms. Due to our connections with the RH Directors, our events were one of the first ones that the freshmen were going to experience.

I just got an e-mail indicating that after the one day event this past Wednesday, we reached out to approximately 800 freshmen! Some of the dorms events had about 200-300 new freshmen attend… this is just incredible! And just to think that this was just one day’s worth of outreaches. We have about 3 more in the next 5-6 days.

God is truly giving us favor… for which we are truly humbled and thankful.

The part that encouraged me the most is that people are really living out our last 2-year theme of “The Church Beyond the Walls.” People have seriously taken this call to be more missional; and they have brought the Gospel to where the people need it the most.

As we continue to focus and depend on the Lord, it is just possible that this coming year we will see the University of Michigan transformed with the love of Christ.

Irene Chung’s Debut

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Voices

Irene Chung, one of our members has expressed her desire to use her passion and talent for music to build up God’s Kingdom. Often times, what starts off as a dream can become our destiny as we stay focused on our calling. I want to do my part in encouraging people who have a dream to make a difference for Christ.

If we are going to see the transformasphere movement become a reality, then we need to create space for people who have a passion and talent for the arts and media.

I just want to give Irene some props and some exposure as she desires to make a difference with her music for the Kingdom of God. You go girl!
Irene Chung Debut.jpg
Here are some clips of her original songs:

Cloak of Jesus

The Cure

Healing Parade

The “Arts & Media” of Transformasphere

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Vision

It is very interesting to discover that a lot of the R&B singers today (and of the past) were once involved in their church choir. When we look even further into history, we will notice that some of the greatest music came from the Church. Some notable composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frederic Handel, and Ludwig van Beethoven all had a high view of God and how He deserved their best.

In fact, Johann Sebastian Bach dedicated all his music to the glory of God. In 1708, Bach declared his ultimate purpose in life was to create “well-regulated church music to the glory of God.” He continued and said, “The aim and final reason of all music was none else but the glory of God.”

Whenever he started to compose a music piece, he initialed the blank manuscripts with “J.J.” which stood for “Jesu Juva” (“Help me, Jesus!”) or “I.N.J.” which meant “In Nomine Jesu” (“In the name of Jesus”). Then, when the manuscript was finished, Bach would initial it with “S.D.G.” which meant “Soli Deo Gloria” (“To God alone, the glory).

When Christian Contemporary Music (CCM) was first starting off in the late 1960’s, it was a response to God’s move within the Jesus People Movement. The music was set in the genre of rock music with Christian lyrics.

We have come a long way since then. Now we are seeing some artists and group cutting into the mainstream with some of their music. Not only is the quality getting better, but the words are speaking to the hearts of the listener.

In our generation we need to reclaim the Arts & Media. We need to see more Christians who will excel in music and the arts. Our generation has become the media generation. Think about the platform a Christian person would have if their music had a voice amongst the lost.

With the whole transformasphere movement and trying to engage in the CHARGED acronym, I am confident that God is going to raise up a generation of people who will reclaim the Arts & Media for God’s Kingdom.

Newly Designed HMCC Website 07

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Victories

I just want to give a shout out to the Web Team, the Publications Team and many others who have put countless numbers of hours into re-designing our church website. I am proud to be part of a group of people who constantly go the extra mile to make things happen. They are truly the “can-do” kind of people and it is a privilege working with them.

As technology is becoming more accessible, I am seeing the importance of using it as a medium to reach more people with the Gospel. Even within the last several years, we have seen more people come to our website to download or watch our sermons and even just to peruse through the happenings at HMCC.

We are not content with where we are, but we are still in the process of constantly pushing the envelope and trying to find ways to further our reach and influence for God’s glory.

God’s Kingdom is truly advancing and He is even using technology to do it.

The Word “Transformasphere”

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Vision

I love it when words are created. It expresses a function of something and then it is put into a form. I enjoy seeing this process take shape. For example the word, “blog” came about from people journaling on the web. As they kept a log of their thoughts, it was put in a chronological order. Since it was a “web log,” people have shortened it to call it simply a blog (weB log).

Recently, the Lord gave me a word that was consistent with some of the things that He was doing in our church. For several years, I have been sharing with people about the significance of the CHARGED acronym and how it is going to play a part in bringing transformation to this world.

Each of the 7 spheres (Commerce, Health professions, Arts & Media, Religious institutions, Government & Politics, Education and Domestic Issues) must be redeemed and impacted in order to see transformation in our global society. Christians cannot run away from these spheres of influence. Rather we must engage these spheres and transform it to reflect God’s intended purposes.

The whole process of Christians engaging in these 7 spheres and then taking steps to bring transformation is what I have started to call, “transformasphere.” I am also in the process of writing something substantial on this topic so that our generation can equipped and ready to build God’s Kingdom. I am hoping that the word transformasphere will help outline the foundation and importance of engaging our world. May it remind us to “transform-a-sphere.”

It is exciting to see people in our church who are taking this challenge seriously as they are studying and preparing to enter into these particular fields.

Thoughts on “Muslim Evangelism”

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visuals

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After my trip out to Indonesia and Malaysia, God really spoke to me about my ignorance about the Islamic faith and the Muslim people. It is interesting that no matter how many theological classes you have taken in seminary about world religions, there is a difference between head knowledge and practical knowledge.

I received Phil Parshall book by one of my former HMCC members who is now back in Indonesia (the largest Muslim populated country in the world). Parshall, in some ways is like the godfather of Muslim missions.

I have read a lot of academic books on the Islam faith, but for some reason this book was different. There is a huge difference when a person writes a book academically with just head knowledge compared to when a person writes a book from years of missionary experience. I was able to notice the difference right away.

This book was written in 2003 so in some ways it is still fresh. But so much has happened in the Islamic landscape especially with what is going on in Iraq. This is a must read for anyone who has a burden for Muslims or who wants to do Muslim missions in the future.

The major issue that Parshall covers is the issue of contextualization. In various seminaries and missions organizations there are some theological discussions about how to do evangelism in the Muslim world. Not everyone agrees with the various methods, but the importance of it is beginning to bring people together for dialoguing and strategizing.

God used this book to open up my eyes to the Muslim worldview and how there are so many different bridges Christians can make that might be easily overlooked. This book also exposed some of my own prejudices of how ought to be when it comes to witnessing to Muslims.

After giving some more thought and reflection, one thing that the Lord impressed on my heart is that God needs to raise up a special generation of Christians in order to evangelize to the Muslim world. When you look into the Muslim’s worldview of holiness, you start to realize why they hate the West so much. Also, when they look at Christians and how little reverence they have for their Christian God it is almost laughable for the Muslim.

Due to their works mentality in their relationship with Allah, it is hard for them to look at a Christian who preach grace that does not produce holiness.

I am wondering if the type of Christians who will be able to minister to the Muslims will be people who are radical in their faith (even willing to die for it), live in holiness and possess an unconditional love that cannot be explained by human terms.

But the problem that I see that there is a smug current that flows in the Church in the United States. There are people who disguise their comfortable and self-made Christianity under the banner of grace. Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book, “Cost of Discipleship” explains,

“Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church. We are fighting today for costly grace. Cheap grace means grace as a doctrine, a principle, a system. It means forgiveness of sins proclaimed as a general truth, the love of God taught as the Christian ‘conception’ of God…
Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. Grace alone does everything they say, and so everything can remain as it was before. ‘All for sin could not atone.’ Well, then, let the Christian live like the rest of the world, let him model himself on the world’s standards in every sphere of life, and not presumptuously aspire to live a different life under grace from his old life under sin. That was the heresy of the enthusiasts…
The call goes forth, and is at once followed by the response of obedience… Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ. It remains an abstract idea, a myth which has a place for the Fatherhood of God, but omits Christ as the living Son… There is trust in God, but no following of Christ…
He wants to follow, but feels obliged to insist on his own terms to the level of human understanding. The disciple places himself at the Master’s disposal, but at the same time retains the right to dictate his own terms. But then discipleship is no longer discipleship, but a program of our own to be arranged to suit ourselves, and to be judged in accordance with the standards of rational ethic.”

It is my prayer that God will raise up radical Christian who are committed to radical discipleship. This is the only way we will be able to gain respect and a hearing from the Muslims. Lord, may this be the standard and not the anomaly!

Face Mask Fellowship

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

I realized the power Christina has over my life. Last night, Christina somehow convinced me to try putting on a facial mask. At first I was very resistant because I have always associated guys putting on a facial mask with – well, I can’t say it on this blog :-)

When I saw it as a means of connection and good time of fellowship, I caved in. As the mask cream started to dry, I was shocked to feel the tightness on my skin. Christina made it clear to me that I could not laugh or move my facial muscle because it would crack and not work as well.

After rinsing off the mask, I was pleasantly surprised to feel the difference on my skin. But for the record, I don’t think I will be doing this on a regular basis. Oh, what some of the things people go through to take care of their skin!
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My facial mask mug shot – I still can’t believe I did it.
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I violated the facial mask rules by laughing… seriously, no shame.

Thoughts on “The Difference Maker”

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visuals

The Difference Maker.jpg
There are two groups of people when it comes to attitude – one that carries a bucket of gasoline and another that carries a bucket of water. Depending on the circumstance, some people either stoke the fire of optimism burn brightly or they eradicate it quickly.

I think we all have met people that make a difference through their attitudes. They are the kind of people who constantly see the cup half-full rather than half-empty. They are the “can-do” people in any situation. They are usually contagious people to be around because they stir up the fire of optimism in our own hearts.

John Maxwell, who has taught on leadership for more than a quarter of a century, constantly draws attention to this factor of attitude in a lot of his leadership materials. If leaders are the thermostat of any group then their attitude will determine how other people will respond in a particular situation.

He mentions that there are the “Big Five Attitude Obstacles” that everybody faces: discouragement, change, problems, fear, and failure. The way we handle any one of these five obstacles shows us about our attitudes.

Here are some phrases that I highlighted from this book:

• People always project on the outside what they feel on the inside.

• Your attitude colors every aspect of your life. It is like the mind’s paintbrush.

• Poor self-image and poor attitudes often walk hand in hand. It’s hard to see anything in the world as positive if you see yourself as negative.

• Every thought you have shapes your life.

• My attitude in the areas that I do control will be the difference maker

• The happiest people in life don’t necessarily have the best of everything. They just try to make the best of everything.

• Life often gives you whatever you expect from it.

• Every challenge has an opportunity. And every opportunity has a challenge. A person’s attitude determines how she handles those.

• Because your attitude is your emotional approach to life… it’s the framework through which you see events, other people, even yourself.

The one phrase that stuck out for me was – “Most of the great work in this world was done by men and women who didn’t believe that what they were doing was impossible.”

When I think about history-makers and those who have transformed different parts of the world, they were people who believed that nothing is impossible. The Christians who made a difference were people who believed in a Great God who is able to do great things.

As we make the investment in our attitude, we will slowly see how powerful it really is in our daily lives.

OCR 2007

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

Tonight we had our first gathering for Operation Campus Reach (OCR). For those of you who don’t know what OCR is – it is an event where we gather as many HMCC students as possible to come early to school in order to be trained in reaching out to the new students who will be arriving to campus.

There are so many voices that are calling out to the new students and we want them to at least hear God’s voice calling out to them. As people get trained in evangelism and outreach, we then actively reach out to the students by inviting them to the various church gatherings for the first few weeks of school.

This first meeting of OCR is always crucial and it even sets the tone for the whole week – if not the whole month of September.

For some reason this first meeting of OCR was a bit different from the previous years. I think one reason is that I feel God has been putting more of a hunger for me to seek Him. Also, with the participants that we have there is a sense of anticipation that I haven’t felt for some time.

We spend some quality time praying for this coming week and we even prayed for God’s anointing on our lives. It was powerful to see people laying their hands on one another and praying for God to anointing. It reminded me of the early Church when they laid their hands on one another and commissioned people to do the ministry.

The harvest is truly plentiful as I am already seeing so many international students here on campus. The new students will be coming in about a few days. The harvest field will only increase, therefore we want to be prepared and ready to be a blessing.

Family Time on Sunday

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

I have to admit that I had some withdrawal symptoms today. It felt weird not rushing to the airport trying to catch my normal flight out to Chicago. Even Christina was asking me if it felt different being able to stay here in Ann Arbor on Sunday.

I guess if you do something for 11 months you just get use to things and when the rhythm is broken it seems as if things are out of sync.

Christina and I even noticed the kids acting differently. We haven’t laughed together over the meal table like we did today in a long time. Then we went out to a park and just hung out.

You don’t realize what you have missed until you get back into things. I am truly blessed.

Contradictions in Racial Proportions

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Viewpoint

People in our generation have settled for contradictions in life. In some ways to live with contradictions is to be human. The prophet Jeremiah in the good book shares, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jer 17:9).
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A story that caught my attention was about a Chinese sculptor, Lei Yixin who was selected to carve a 3-story monument of Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK). This monument which will be placed in the National Mall is to celebrate the life and legacy of MLK, who preached about peace and equality in the landscape of violence, injustice and oppression.

Therefore it is pretty surprising to hear that there is a group of people saying that sculptor should be African-American or at least an American. African-Americans are saying that blacks should have the first opportunity to create the monument. Some Chinese-Americans are saying that someone from a Communist country like China do not represent the democracy that MLK represented, therefore they want someone that is at least an American.

Here are the facts:

1) Ten of the 12 people on the MLK Monument project (those that gave the thumbs up on Lei being the sculptor) are African-American.

2) Lei is not working on this project alone but in fact he is collaborating with 2 African-American sculptors from the United States.

3) The project is being directed by a architectural firm which is owned by African-Americans.

4) Lei just happens to live in China and does not necessary represent or endorse the Chinese government.

5) In repeated interviews, Lei has mentioned that he believes in the message that MLK preached. In his own words, he said, “Martin Luther King hoped that everyone would be brothers and sisters no matter the color of their skin or their social status, that they would all enjoy the same opportunities and rights… I want my sculpture to show that Martin Luther King fought for democracy.”

Wait a minute… wasn’t it MLK in 1963 in front of the Lincoln Memorial said in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character… Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring – when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children – black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics – will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

I guess he left out the “yellow people” (sarcasm).

The MLK monument is scheduled to be completed in 2009. The committee has said that they wanted to put a quote into the monument which states that in order to achieve peace, humans must “transcend race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.”

At the risk of offending people, I need to state that:

We, as “Americans” must wake up and realize that we are no longer at the center of the world anymore. God is doing some incredible things all over the world and He is using non-Americans to accomplish His purpose – believe it or not!

You can read the whole FoxNews story on this controversy here.

Mirroring Our Generation

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

I don’t know if you have been keeping up with the Michael Vick’s legal case but on Friday Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner indefinitely suspended Vick without pay.

Due to my love for sports, I have been keeping up with the whole situation from time to time. It is very interesting how this case is all turning out. In fact, there was a notable article written by Howard Bryant, a writer for ESPN.

I could not help but to read this article and reflect on our current moral principles that govern our generation. Once you read the article you will understand how much our post-modern society has blurred the truth with the half-truths – we have eliminated the absolutes.

We live in a self-dominated world. With this kind of worldview and reference point, everything will be done to preserve the self rather than to humble oneself before God. This is why the prophet Micah told the people, “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

God also reminds us that there is something about living for justice – “Blessed are they who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right” (Ps 106:3). I am guessing that some of the PETA people are waiting for justice to be served.

iPhone Unlocked?!

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

Did you hear? A 17 year old from New Jersey named George Hotz unlocked the iPhone. Now, the iPhone can be used with a SIM card from T-Mobile or other carriers. The story was reported on FoxNews about the audacious feat.

Hotz decided to sell one of the unlocked iPhones on eBay and as of 5PM EST on Friday the bidding was well over $4,500. Can you believe it?

You can also read up about his journey on Hotz’s blog. I couldn’t help but to think about AT&T and what is going through their minds. They made a special deal with Apple to be the exclusive carrier for the iPhone, which was a great move on their part. They have even indicated that there was an increase in new service since the debut of the iPhone. But now with this new discovery their profits will not hit what they were projecting… ah, the uncertainty of the business world.

Here is the video of the 17 year old talking about his incredible accomplishment. Is it me or does this guys have a “David Koresh”-esque look… you got to love the hair.

Family Time 08.23.07

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values

I enjoy coming back to family after my travels. Since this summer has been crazy, we took some time to just have fun. We headed out to a bowling alley. We cheered for one another and acted crazy since we were one of two families there. There is something about bowling in the early afternoon that brings families together – you are free to do whatever :-)

Then we headed out to the $1 theater. We saw the movie “Surf’s Up”. Since it was rated PG, Christina and I were not sure if it would be ok for KiKi but they all loved the movie. It had a good message about how winning isn’t everything.

After working up an appetite, we ended up eating near the movie theater and enjoyed each other’s company.

Every time I go away on a trip, this is one thing that I always look forward to – time with my family, the people who pray for me the most. I am truly a blessed man!
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An empty bowling alley is paradise for our crazy family