A Victim of Lust

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Viewpoint

It is interesting how religious people deal with the issue of lust. We know how secular people and pre-Christians deal with it. But when the issue of lust becomes the main topic of the day for religious people, you find it some fascinating perspectives.

There was a news report by the Associated Press that appeared on Fox News with the title “Cleric: Women’s Sexy Clothing Distracting Muslim Men from Sleep, Prayers.” You can read the article here.

In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, there have been greater attention draw to the fact that a growing number of Muslim men have been suffering from sleepless nights and their inability to pray due to the increase of women who are wearing sexy clothes in public.

Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, one of the Muslim clerics even went as far as to say that the men were facing “emotional abuse” due to this situation. Hmm… this was the same cleric who said that women should stop wearing lipstick and perfume to lower the risk of being raped.

The kind of dress that he recommends for women are: “long, flowing headscarves covering their hair and chests… baggy and loose long-sleeved, floor-length dresses.

The reason that this article caught my attention is how so many people love to play the victim. Whenever a person plays the victim in a situation, it absolves them of their “responsibility.” The problem is that whenever a person loses their sense of responsibility, then they will never take steps to get better or change their life.

So should men blame the women for their lust problems? Is it really the fault of women and how they dress that causes men to lust, hence we can blame the women for our struggles?

I have always believed that part of being a man of God is to learn how to take responsibilities. We need to stop blaming people and accept the fact that we have played a role in feeding our lust. As we think about all the things we have seen on T.V. and the internet, we should take the responsibility of entertaining those images in our minds for too long. We should take the responsibility of looking at women as objects instead of women made in the image of God. We should take the responsibility that we have not confessed our sins to another brother-in-Christ and honest dealt with the sin. We should take the responsibility that some of the things that we experienced from the past (our pre-Christian days or even in our Christian days of disobedience), we did not repent of and have taken measures to draw clearer boundaries. We, men are all guilty.

But I have a side note to women in the church…

Even though we, men will pledge to take responsibility for our own struggles and actions, we are asking for your help. We are not asking you to go radical or dictate to you how you should dress like the Muslim cleric. But all we are saying is that we are weak and that we need some help from women who it is their desire to see godly men raised up in the Church.

Certain images and things do affect us and the less we are confronted it, the greater the momentum we will have to fight through some of our weaknesses and struggles.

Thank God, the Church does not have to put rules and regulations about how we should dress. It is awesome when we can be free to be who we are but yet always thinking about mutual edification in the Body of Christ for the glory of God.

Crucial Component of College Campuses

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Vision

I was away the last 2 days visiting a college campus. I went out to scout the campus for a possible church plant in the future. As I was walking around, I couldn’t help but to get convicted about the important role college campuses play in the overall purpose and mission of God.

As I was talking with some of the students, there was a gentle nudge from the Spirit. I realized that many major decisions that change the destiny and course of a person’s life are made in college. If we are able to speak into their lives with a Kingdom perspective, they will be used of God in a tremendous way.

It is interesting how so many ministries on college campuses are still run by para-churches. But there seems to be a new wave of local churches coming into the campuses. It is exciting to see how God is using local churches and para-churches to bring forth the reality of God’s Kingdom.

As college campuses are being reached then communities will be impacted. If communities are then reached, the surrounding cities will be affected. Hopefully, as cities are reached, the world will be transformed and God will receive all the glory!

Missions Week 2007

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Vision

Missions Week.jpg
We started off our annual Missions Week. This is a great time for our church to really focus in on the heart of our church and the bigger purpose of God.

Every year, I am humbled to see how a concentrated time of tapping into God’s heart can produce life transformation. We are praying that this year will be no different as we have the privilege of having Dr. Timothy Tennent come and share God’s Word with us.

Dr. Tennent has written several books, but his most anticipated book which will be coming out in December 2007 is called, “Theology in the Context of World Christianity: How the Global Church Is Influencing the Way We Think about and Discuss Theology.”

So get ready.

We have started the Missions Week with morning prayers focusing on missions. Also, there will be various seminars and sermons this coming weekend that will help train and equip you for the Great Commission.

We are particularly excited about this Sunday because we are having our first International Sunday Celebration. You do not want to miss it. We are going to sing, speak and shout out God’s greatness in various languages. We will many different cultures represented as we display the mosaic picture of God’s multi-faceted Church.

I will also be introducing the new theme for this coming year which will be “Think Globally. Train Locally.” You don’t want to miss what God is going to do this coming week.

UG Retreat Reflections

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Victories

I have been terribly behind in my e-mails and even in my blog posts. I think all the back-to-back revival meetings and retreats are finally catching up with me. But I would not trade what I have witnessed and experienced for the world.

This past UG retreat in Chicago was a fresh reminder for me why we do what we do as a church. Here are some quick reflections:

1) The first of anything is the most memorable. This was our first Undergraduate Retreat and God did not fail us.

2) It was a privilege to see many people experience the kind of worship that we have been longing to have in our HMCC of Chicago church.

3) It is a joy serving with people who are like-minded and desire the same thing for an event. I couldn’t help but to notice some of the people I had the privilege of seeing grow up in our ministry in Ann Arbor who are now in Chicago helping build up the church… they brought so much joy to my heart.

4) Some of the best times at a retreat are the informal times when you are able to just chill with people and talk about whatever is in your heart.

5) There is something powerful about laying hands on people and allowing them to powerfully experience the power of God through prayer.

6) We definitely gained some big time momentum from this retreat. Now we want to maximize it for God’s glory.

7) Driving to the retreat instead of flying allowed me the privilege of spending time with some of our band helpers. I always get excited when I am able to impart the heart of the ministry to younger people who desire to learn and grow.

Undergraduate Retreat in Chicago

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

UG Retreat 07 - HMCC of Chi.jpg
This weekend some of the band members and I will be going to Chicago for the first Undergraduate Retreat for HMCC of Chicago. It is hard to believe that we just finished our Undergraduate Retreat here in Ann Arbor.

We are expecting the same blessings that God poured out here in AA, if not more in this coming retreat. It is going to be a busy weekend, but it is worth it all when I am able to see lives transformed with the Gospel. This is truly the life!

Marriage Principles from CNN?

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values

It is always refreshing when secular media covers a topic that is important to the Church and to God. In a world where marriages are crumbling, people (even secular people) are seeing the importance of common sense.

This is why the CNN article caught my attention when I saw the title, “Saving Marriages Must Be a National Priority.” Even though the writer of this article got a divorce, it was pretty interesting to hear his perspective. Maybe after the divorce something inside of him just clicked.

He stressed the importance of couples learning how to endure and persevere in their marriages. Simply – people give up too easily. We just don’t know how to work through the issues. He even addressed the issue of selfishness and how it plays a part in the overall problem.

What would it be like if the Church or Christ-followers are able to enter into this kind of platform and talk about family issues (the “D” in the CHARGED acronym) in the Transformasphere Movement. I think the issue of divorce is hitting so many people that they will give us a hearing.

You can read the whole CNN article here.

The Preacher’s Kid

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

I guess there are some benefits of being a PK when it comes to giving a speech.

Everyone in Josiah’s class has to give a 5 minute presentation about some explorer who impacted world history. He had to do all the research on Captain James Cooke. Then he had to write up a report and prepare a speech that he has to give in front of his class.

Since I speak in front of people on a weekly basis, it was fun working with Josiah and honing his speaking skills. I told him to remember the 3 P’s – Posture, Pace, and Pitch. Then he decided to add one more “P” – Project my voice.

I worked with his stance, eye contact, and his hand gestures (posture). We also focused on his voice inflexion (pitch) and he become more aware of “dramatic pauses” and learning how to talk faster at certain points (pace).

They will not allow parents in their classrooms for their presentations… hmm… I wonder why… haha! Instead they are going to video record it and give it to parents to look at after all the presentations are done.

As I think back to my younger years, I could not give a speech even if my life counted on it. Now, it is truly by the grace of God I am able to communicate God’s Word on a weekly basis.
Josiah's Speech - 5th Grade.jpg
Josiah is practicing his speech in front of the family in his full explorer’s outfit
Josiah's Speech2 - 5th Grade.jpg
Josiah signing off

Clergy Appreciation 2007

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values

As most of you know, the month of October is dedicated for Clergy Appreciation. It has been so encouraging for our family to see how the church is taking this opportunity to honor us. Already, several small groups have given so generously to our family.

Today, during our married couples’ small group, they took some time to go around and share something that they appreciated about Christina and me. It was really touching to hear some of their words of affirmation and encouragement. Then they took some time to pray for us.

No amount of gifts can replace the precious gift of prayer. We are so thankful to serve in a church community that love God and love us as a pastor’s family. We are truly blessed.

A New Generation of Men

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint, Vision

Michael Murphy Navy.jpg      Michael Murphy SEALS.jpg
Just recently, Dr. Steve Lee in Kenya, Africa forwarded an article about Lt. Michael P. Murphy, a Navy SEALS who died in combat in Afghanistan.

Yesterday, President Bush awarded him the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award, which was received by his father and mother.

What caught my attention was his profile. I am realizing that Ed Cole’s phrase of, “Being a male is a matter of birth. Being a man is a matter of choice” is so true. How do we raise up men that have character, courage and compassion that they are willing to lay down their lives for greater things?

I have mentioned that life is made up of “moments” and “decisions.” In fact, “our decisions determine our destiny.” Here is part of the New York Times article about Lt. Michael P. Murphy and some of the key moments in his life:

“In June 2005, Lt. Michael P. Murphy and three fellow members of the Navy Seals were on a mission in the mountains of Afghanistan when they were pinned down by a swarm of enemy fighters. Trapped in a steep ravine, they were unable to get a radio signal to call for help.

With the Americans suffering injuries, ammunition running low and roughly 100 Taliban fighters closing in, Lieutenant Murphy made a bold but fateful decision: He left the sheltering mountain rocks into an open area where he hoped to get a radio frequency.
He managed to make contact with Bagram Air Base, calling in his unit’s location and the size of the enemy force, even as he came under direct fire, according to a declassified Navy account of the battle.

He also was shot several times and died.

Mr. Murphy said his son’s action in battle was typical of the sort of selflessness he displayed even as a child, recalling an episode when he got into a scrap with three bullies in middle school who tried to shove a disabled student in a locker.

‘He just jumped in,’ Mr. Murphy said, noting that it was the kind of action that led him and his former wife to refer to their oldest son as ‘the Protector’ when he was a boy. ‘That was Michael’s way.’

Early in his life, Lieutenant Murphy appeared to possess the qualities that would make him the kind of candidate sought by the Seals, an elite Navy unit known for daring, physical toughness and mental acuity.

He was a member of the National Honor Society in Patchogue-Medford High School, a lifeguard and a solid athlete. He attended Pennsylvania State University, where he played hockey and graduated with two bachelor’s degrees, in political science and psychology.

His options after graduating in 1998 were wide open, and he was accepted into several law schools. He chose to join the military and train to become a Navy commando. He attended the Navy’s Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Fla., and then completed the Seals’ harsh training program and became a member of the Seals in April 2002.

It was a significant achievement for Lieutenant Murphy, who was not quite 6 feet tall, slight compared with the physically imposing members of the Seals. Each year, 50 to 200 sailors graduate from the training program. The dropout rate is 74 percent, according to the Navy.

In an interview, Daniel Murphy said that he was not surprised to learn about his son’s actions. “What Maureen and I always worried about was that he would put himself in danger to help someone else, which turned out to be true,” he said.

You can read the whole New York Times article here.

If we had more people like Michael P. Murphy, we will see the world transformed.

Leadership Lessons Luncheon

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

We had our first Leadership Lessons Luncheon this afternoon. For those of you who have not heard about this yet… after the Undergraduate Retreat the staff and I had a greater burden to help develop leaders in our church. If we are going to see a strong church then we need to influence people while they are young and in their formative years.

We thought that having a “brown bag” lunch discussion on various aspects of leadership would help accomplish several goals. First, the staff will have an opportunity to impart principles to the younger generation. Secondly, we would be able to spend time with some of the younger students without taking extra time out for an appointment.

I laid down the objectives with the 3 D’s – Discipleship, Dialogue and Direction. As we talk about leadership issues and other topics that come up, it is an opportunity for people to learn and grow. We also know that people learn best from discussions and dialogue. This helps in the process stage as well as sharpening each other. Lastly, we want to be able to help the young students go in the right direction as they are making important decisions in life.

We are going to try to have these gatherings bi-weekly or at least once a month. I am hoping that will be a catalyst for future leaders to be developed and trained for building up God’s Kingdom.

The Youngest Governor

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Vision

Bobby Jindal - Gov of LA.jpg
This past week history was made. Bobby Jindal, son of Indian immigrants became the youngest governor in United States history. You can read up on the story here.

Couple of things about this newsworthy event struck me:

1) He is a minority. This is huge because he became the governor NOT OF California or New York BUT the state of Louisiana. Yes, Louisiana. The state that has had history of racism and KKK activity. Do you remember David Duke who ran for the position years back? He was the Grand Wizard of the Knight of the KKK. Even though we have a long way to go, this shows that America is getting more open to people of color and that anyone can live out the American Dream. Jindal said, “My mom and dad came to this country in pursuit of the American dream. And guess what happened. They found the American Dream to be alive and well right here in Louisiana.”

2) He is young. I don’t think being 36 years of age is old :-)… but in the political scene it is a young age. I am wondering if people nowadays are looking at character and integrity more than anything else, especially when it comes to politics. The political landscape is changing. People are tired of getting burned with empty promises. Maybe this is why the Apostle Paul told Timothy, who was young, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Ti 4:12). Jindal won big! As votes were coming in, Jindal carried more than half the vote (53%) to defeat 11 opponents with about 92% of the votes tallied at that time. The nearest competitor was at 18%. Hmm… substance over style… character over charisma.

I am praying that in the future we will see many Christians entering into the political scene with Christ-like character. It is possible, regardless of your ethnicity or your age. This is what we are trying to promote with the whole Transformasphere Movement.

Jindal is living proof and now he has raised the bar. May we be people of conviction, compassion, and courage.

Christina’s B-day

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

God knew what He was doing when He decided to create a life that would bring so much joy and happiness to this world. My life has never been the same the day I met her.

The family and I followed our birthday tradition today by having the birthday person choose the restaurant that they want to go to. Then as we were eating, we went around and shared one thing we were thankful to God for about that person.

After we put the kids to sleep, we just went out and spent some time together. I was reminded of how blessed I am to have a special woman like Christina in my life.

As we are slowly getting older, our hearts for one another is deepening.

This Weekend’s Blessings

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

What a long day… or shall I say a long weekend. On Saturday, Christina and I had to leave early from the revival meeting because my family needed to get back to Ann Arbor. I ended up sticking around in Chicago for Sunday’s celebration at HMCC of Chicago.

Pastor Paul’s message on “The Gospel for the Shamed” really spoke to me as I was reminded that true freedom from shame comes when we know that we are love even when God knows the worst of us. This frees us from hiding in shame and even living in secrecy.

Then on Saturday morning, I spoke to the leaders at their leaders’ meeting. I addressed the whole issue about the 360 leadership and just learning how to lead from the middle.

This morning I was able to speak on the theme for this coming year to the church in Chicago. I was encouraged to see some new faces and I was also able to spend some time with members that I knew from last year.

Then in the late afternoon I spend time with some pastors. It is always a blessing to connect heart to heart with people who are going through the same challenges as a pastor. After the meeting we quickly rushed over to UIC at one of our member’s apartment. We shared a meal together and then we decided to go out to the UIC campus and do a prayer walk. It was refreshing for me because there were some people who never have been on a prayer walk. Explaining things to them and just leading by example was an awesome reminder of the importance of life-on-life discipleship.

Afterwards, couple of the brothers and I went to a café to just chill and hang out together. I don’t think I will ever get sick and tired of meeting up with people and just sharing about church and life. It is in these conversations that life is experienced and principles are learned.

CFC Revival Meeting Update 1

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

As Christina and I were driving onto campus to get to the revival meeting, we were getting very nostalgic. We started reminiscing about various things that we did when we were in college and various places that had special meaning for us.

I spoke the first night and it brought a lot of memories coming back to the place where Christina and I consider our spiritual home. I found out that it was the 17th revival meeting at CFC. I still remember the first several one during my college years.

Before I spoke, I took some time to honor Pastor Min and Ms. Kim who have served faithfully for the last 17 years. It is not easy serving in a church on a college campus, but to do it for 17 years it is pretty incredible. In our generation, we are not very good at honoring people… especially those who have gone before us. Many of them leave a spiritual legacy and heritage that we need to recognize and praise God for.

But the best past so far has been just hanging out with some of the old friends. We have been just reminiscing about some of the “good old days” when things were more simple and pure. It has been good for my heart.

I can’t wait for the blessings tonight with Pastor Paul preaching the Word.