Going Back to Our Alma Mater

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

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Today, the family and I will be heading out to Chicago. We are going to drop off the kids first with my parents and then Christina and I are heading down to the University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign. I, along with Pastor Young Kim from Grace Covenant Church and Pastor Paul Kim from Renewal Presbyterian Church, will be taking turns preaching at Covenant Fellowship Church’s revival meeting.

More than the preaching, it is going to be fun hanging out with some old friends. It is also going to get very nostalgic as Christina and I will try to retrace some of our steps and visit some familiar places that we visited during the good old college days… pretty romantic huh? :-)

It is amazing how God is the grand concert master of our lives. Who would have ever thought that my experience in being part of the church plant down at U. of I. back in 1990 was going to prepare me for the church plant here in Ann Arbor. Who would have imagined that Christina’s experience in serving CFC was going to prepare her for her experience here.

God’s timing and timeline is priceless and perfect.

What the @#$%&*!!!

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Viewpoint

I used to be a bit credulous to any studies that researchers or various scientists claim to be a “new discovery.” But now, I am a bit hesitant to jump on the bandwagon until there is more replicable research done on the matter. In fact, that is a criterion of a good research… the results can be reproduce.

In the midst of all the great discoveries through research, there were some that violate integrity and trust with the public.

Back in the 90’s when they said that they found a “gay gene” that links to people’s propensity for homosexual tendencies, people were all excited about trying to justify or explain themselves. But then it was later discovered that the main researcher had an “agenda” and was a homosexual. Now they are trying to start up a new research to (once again) prove that there is a link to sexual orientation with genetics.

How about the most recent one with Woo-Suk Hwang who claimed to have created human embryonic stem cells by cloning back in 2004. But only to be discovered (pun intended) that a large amount of his research was based on fabricated data.

Or like when they found that drinking one cup of coffee was actually good for you. I was pretty excited about this finding, but somewhere in the back of my mind I was wondering if Folgers or Starbucks funded the research :-)

This is why when I read an article about a new research that states, ”Swearing at Work Eases Stress, Boosts Team Spirit,” I chuckled. Supposedly, using profanity will help deal with stress in the workplace.

I love the line in the article that said, “Managers need to understand how their staff feels about swearing. The challenge is to master the art of knowing when to turn a blind eye to communication that does not meet with their own standards.”

Hmm… “own standards”? How about God’s standards?

“Do not let any unwholesome talk (“corrupt communication” in the KJV) come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Eph 4:29).

In this world, I realized that it is sometimes “cool” to swear as a Christian. It is all about being “real” and “authentic.” Some would even use profanity in the name of “relating” with the secular world.

I am just wondering what Jesus would have said to any of His followers. Well, in Mark 7:18, 20-23, Jesus said, “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? He went on: ‘What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’”

Tensions in Life

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values

Life is full of tension. What a person does with that tension will determine how things will turn out in their life. It is hard always living with the tension. We will either choose to alleviate the tension or we will self-destruction under the weight of the tension. Are these the only two options that we have?

If we choose to alleviate the tension there is a temptation to alleviate it in a self-centered way which might not glorify God. If we decide to do nothing (which by the way IS a choice), then it will affect us in negative ways.

I am wondering if we just need to go through the tension in humility. But it is not easy!

Dictionary.com defines “tension” as: “the act of stretching or straining; the state of being stretched or strained.”

I am wondering if a lot of the tension that we feel is God’s “stretching” method of making us more like Christ. In some ways, without it we would be too comfortable. Rarely does growth happens when things are comfortable, but only when we are challenged can we rise to the next level.

So whether it is your vision, values, viewpoint or your very vitality that get stretched… remember that God is preparing you to get to the next level.

Eli Florence

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values

For those of you who were at the Undergraduate Retreat, here is a follow-up on the story that I shared about Eli Florence.

Don’t forget: It is not the container that is so crucial but the content! May we live our lives well for the glory of God. We are all given one life to live and when everything is all said and done, may there be more done than said.

B-Ball Season

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

Today was the first day of basketball practice for Josiah. It is amazing how kids today have so many opportunities to develop their skills at a younger age. My brother and I were talking yesterday on the phone and we concluded that if we had the opportunities that the kids are having nowadays that we would have been so much better. Well, at least we would like to think so.

So right now, I am waiting for Josiah to finish off his soccer practice. Maybe going from b-ball practice to soccer practice is a bit crazy, but he loves it. I love it because it gives me extra time to spend time with Josiah.

2007 UG Retreat Update

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Victories

Last two nights at the retreat have been a Spirit-filled time where we have been worshipping and seeking the Lord together. There is something special about being together with close to 200 college students in a place – the praise is a little bit livelier, the prayers are a little bit louder, and people are a little bit larger (in their hearts).

Out of all the UG retreats that we have had in our church this would be up there as one of the better ones. I think it was a combination of a lot of different things. We were more desperate. There was a great sense of anticipation for this retreat… something I have not felt for a long time.

Tonight the Spirit of God fell in our gathering. We were released to cry out to God, as we prayed for God’s power to manifest in our midst. We end up lifting up some crazy prayer, not only for ourselves but for our church. Sometimes we receive not because we ask not.

We also learned a new HMCC word that we will probably hear more often from this point on: BOO YAG!

If you don’t know what that means, ask an undergraduate :-)

UG Retreat 2007

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

I am getting ready to head out to the Undergraduate Retreat. It is hard to describe but for some reasons we have a lot of momentum going into this retreat. I haven’t felt this for a long time. I am wondering if God is going to do some great things at this year’s retreat… even going beyond our expectations and preparations.

We are going worship together, pray together, play together, eat together, dream together… but most importantly we are going to seek God’s will together for our generation.

Captain America is Back

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

Wow! It is like Michael Jordon announcing back in March 18, 1995, just two simple words of, “I’m back.” It is like the resurrection of Jesus (ok, maybe I am being too dramatic). Various news reportsare saying that Marvel Comics has resurrected the comic hero.

It is a good day. He even has a new look.
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It’s Complicated Sermon Series

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

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This coming weekend we are starting a new sermon series called, “It’s Complicated.” The topic of relationships is always a well-talked about subject, whether the person is married or single. God has created us as relational beings and sometimes in our relationships with our spouse or the opposite gender, there are always conflicts and issues that come up.

The way Hollywood describes relationships it seems as if everything should end happily ever after, but many of us know that not all relationships end up this way. The current divorce rate tells a different story. All the broken hearts from broken relationships show us that things don’t always end up the way we want it to. In essence, it is more complicated than we expected.

In the myriad of relational issues, the Bible has a lot to say about marriage and singleness. It is my prayer that whether we are married or single, this sermon series will shed new light to a topic that we are all familiar with.

We always want things that are simple and easy, but in reality anything that is worthwhile requires a lot of hard work and time. I want to give biblical principles to help us lay a good foundation for a successful marriage. And to the singles in our church, I want to give practical biblical points to not only trust in this season of singleness, but to learn how to prepare ourselves for marriage in the future.

We are asking God to bring clarity to this subject that is sometimes so complicated.

Don’t forget to invite a friend!

The New Generation and Church

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Viewpoint

The Barna Group did some research on what teenagers look for in a church. I thought it was interesting to note some of the conclusions that they came up with. Many of the conclusions affirmed a lot of what I have been thinking about.

The Barna Group found out that teenagers today are some of the most religiously active people in the United States. This confirms the whole Generation Y phenomenon of wanting to connect with something greater.

But what do they look for in a church?

First of all, according to Barna’s research, the most common spiritual activity for a teenager is prayer (72%), while the next most common activity is attending a worship service at a church (48%). This is in some ways different from the older generation (Gen X). The younger generation wants to engage in corporate forms of worship and spiritual expression.

But the Barna group warns that this has been waning.

Secondly, they view church as a place where they can connect with God. Barna writes, “When asked to choose between a church that teaches the traditions and background of their faith or a church that teaches how their faith should influence everyday decisions and lifestyle, most teenagers preferred the latter (39% versus 16%).”

We are at a crossroads.

There is a whole generation rising up who are spiritually hungry for the very Presence of God, but the Church is faced with a question – “Is the church conducive (or the best avenue) for people to experience God’s Presence?”

This might challenge us once again about the importance of experiencing God’s Power and Presence through our worship times. I have always hungered for the day when people will receive visions, spiritual gifts and even healing while we are in corporate worship. This means that the people of God will have to become “undone” and lay down everything before the throne of God as we lift our praises to Him.

People cannot have a second-hand experience of God… it must be a visible and a viable experience that is rooted in the Bible and open to the power of God to work in our lives.

Modernize Islam?

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Viewpoint

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Daniel Pipes, who has a tendency to polarize people with some of his views on Islam came to the University of Michigan to speak on how to combat radical Islam. An article was written by the Michigan Daily about his talk, which was sponsored by a pro-Israeli student group.

In the article it quoted Pipes saying, “Our goal in the case of the current war is the modernization of Islam.” This quote got me thinking on several levels.

First of all, the purist in the radical Islam movement would be infuriated with his comments. They see the “modernization of Islam” as one of their greatest fights. They want to see the whole world dominated by the Sharia Law.

Secondly, I couldn’t help to think about the modernization or secularization of Christianity over the years. In many ways, this has brought forth the current condition of Christianity in our generation. We have seen more consumerism and self-centeredness in the Church today than ever before.

Christ’s calling of “denying ourselves and taking up our cross” is not a popular concept in our secularized Christianity. In fact, I am wondering if a lot of the Christianity that we see today goes against many of the teachings of Christ.

Maybe, the radical Muslims and the fully-surrendered Christ-followers have something in common – well, this is how some of the secular newscasters would like to see it. But the big difference is that Christ calls us to bring forth transformation with love rather than violence.

Friend (Chingu) Movie

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Viewpoint

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Several of the Hollywood Videos in Ann Arbor are going out of business, therefore the family and I were able to get some really discounted DVDs. I went through the foreign movie section and ended up picking up the movie, “Friend” (in Korean friend is translated as “chingu”).

Recently, I was able to see this foreign film with Christina for one of our date nights. In fact, it wasn’t totally foreign because it was a Korean movie and I was able to understand portions of it. But thank God for the subtitles.

I heard so much about the movie and I was a bit intrigued by it because it was about friendship, loyalty, honor and all the good stuff. Besides all the swearing and some inappropriate scenes, the movie made me think about what it means to be a true friend.

It was pretty endearing to see the four childhood friends stay as friends over the years. Two of the friends were close all the way to the end.

I couldn’t help but to think of some of my friends. Some of them I knew since high school and we are still friends to this very day. Others, I have met in college and it has been a joy to still be in contact with them. The best friendships are the ones that bring you closer to God and to one another as the both of you are committed to building up the Kingdom of God.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13)

Undergraduate Retreat Prayer Gatherings

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Viewpoint

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This coming weekend we will be having our annual Undergraduate Retreat. For some reason there is this freshness in the air and people are getting excited for this retreat. There is anticipation that God will do great things.

Starting tonight we will be having nightly prayer gatherings to pray for the retreat. Without prayer we know that we cannot do anything, but there is always this tension when it comes to events and prayer.

By praying, do we cause God to respond and do something on our behalf (human responsibility)? Or, is God going to do what He desires to do anyway, therefore we don’t need to pray (God’s Sovereignty)? I have always believed when this tension comes up, we need to look at the situation with a whole new lens.

We cannot row a boat effectively with just one oar. We need both oars in order to move the boat forward. In the same way, if we don’t pray and just expect God to work then we will be missing something. In the same light, if we pray relentlessly because we are afraid that God will not bless us until we pray a certain amount then it can get legalistic and burdensome.

Then how should we view this?

The phrase that I have been using over the years is: “When God wants to do something great, He will cause His people to pray.”

Of course this statement assumes that we are willing to obey His promptings. There have been many times over the years where I felt a burden in my heart to pray for something (God’s Sovereignty) and then when I obeyed and prayed (human responsibility), God did some great things (God receives all the glory).

I am confident that as we walk in the leading of the Holy Spirit, we will feel the burden that God has for this retreat. Then, in obedience to the Father, we will do our part in praying.

I’m hoping to see all of the undergrads at the prayer gatherings this week.

Men Discipling Men

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint, Vision

This past Sunday I had some of the men that I am spending time with come over to my place for a bbq. After eating our “manly” hamburgers, I had them go around and share how their ministry to other men in the church was coming along.

Too often we are focused on programs and events that we forget that Jesus’ command was to go and make “disciples.” It is always easier said than done. When we disciple people it is all about the life-on-life principle. When the people we are discipling do not see our lives, then it is hard to impart anything to them.

There is something about bringing our lives up close and personal that allows people to see what following Christ is all about. People in our generation have heard too much about discipleship and now they just need to see it.

In the past some years we have seen an increase in concern (grumblings from some of the women in the church) about Christian men. They have noticed traits like: immaturity, irresponsibility, laziness, unfocused, purposelessness, passionless and the list goes on.

Now, in defense of the male gender, I would say that we are still growing in Christ and doing our best to be more Christ-like since “manhood and Christlikeness are synonymous.” But when I honestly assess some of the brothers, I realized that we are in somewhat of a crisis. It is getting harder to find men who are passionate about Christ and the things of the Kingdom and who are willing to take responsibility.

I would love to see our church become like an epicenter for producing godly men. When men are discipled to be sold out Christ-followers then you will have a strong church. We have to start with one man at a time.