Ushering in the 2008

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

Christina and I reluctantly decided to let the kids stay up and usher in the 2008. We were a bit hesitant because their bedtime is at 7PM, but the clincher was Jordin Sparks. Once KiKi found out, it was game over.

Now, let’s see how long they will last until the countdown… HA!

Sunday TV Afternoon

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

It was great today hanging out with the kids and just watching some football. It’s been awhile since we were able to sit down and watch some NFL on a Sunday afternoon. But then to include everyone, we all ended up watching a movie together.

It was relaxing and restful. Now we are gearing up for the big game on January 1st.

The Intelligent Reformed Charismatic Theologian

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Viewpoint

For many years, people from a charismatic background have been labeled as unintelligent, feeling-oriented Christians. Some people from the Reformed circles have argued passionately about the shallowness of any charismatic experience.

This is why it is a bit surprising when a person like J. P. Moreland, a distinguished professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology writes a book that talks about restoring the Spirit’s power and recovering the Christian mind in the same sentence.

In fact, there are an increasing number of charismatic theologians that are gaining more credibility on the theological roundtable. People like Wayne Grudem, Gordon Fee, and Jack Deere are trying a good balance between the right and left brain.

In Moreland’s book, Kingdom Triangle, he shares a story that made an impact on his life and reminded him of the power of God’s Spirit to heal people.

He writes,

“The Sunday evening service on February 20, 2005, had just ended and I wanted to get home. I was frustrated. The previous Thursday a virus landed in my chest and throat, and in a period of less than three hours I went from being normal to having the worst case of laryngitis in the 35 years since college. On Friday I went to our walk-in clinic and received the bad news. The doctor warned that this virus was going around, she had seen several cases of it in the last few weeks, and there was nothing that could be done about it. I just had to wait it out. The laryngitis would last 7–10 days.

This couldn’t be, I whispered to her. My main day of teaching at the university was Monday, and I was looking at a full day of lecturing. I couldn’t afford to cancel classes because I had already missed my limit of canceled classes for that semester. To make matters worse, I was scheduled to deliver a three-hour lecture at a nearby church that Tuesday evening, and I didn’t want to let the church down.

It made no difference. The doctor said I wasn’t going to be able to speak either day, so I had to make other plans. My throat felt as if it had broken glass in it, and I was reduced to whispering. On Sunday evening I whispered a few greetings to various church friends; I tried to speak normally, but it hurt too much. After the service I had to get home, try to contact our department secretary that night… and cancel my classes for Monday. I could cancel with the church the next day.

As I was walking out of the sanctuary, two lay elders intercepted me. ‘Hey, J. P.,’ one yelled, ‘you can’t leave yet. Hope (my wife) just told us you have laryngitis, and we can’t let you get outta here without loving on you a bit and praying for your throat!’ So one elder laid hands on my shoulders and the other placed his hand on my lower throat area and started praying.

To be honest, I wasn’t listening to a word they said. I had already left the church emotionally and wanted to get home to make my phone call. But something happened. As the two men prayed gently for me, I began to feel heat pour into my throat and chest from one elder’s hand. After two or three minutes of prayer, I was completely and irreversibly healed! I started talking to the brothers normally with no pain, no effort, no trace that anything had been wrong. I never had to make that call to my secretary. The laryngitis never returned.”

Sometimes when a person experiences God’s power in a mighty way, there is no way to explain it in a logic way. God sometimes goes beyond the natural and enters into the supernatural so that the people will know it is through God’s power rather than human’s intellect that can bring healing.

What would happen if we saw more of this kind of occurrences in our church?!

You can learn more about his book on his Kingdom Triangle website.

2007 Youth Retreat Update 2

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

Last night I talked about laying down some of the hindrances in our lives so that we can be “all in.” It was a powerful time of the Holy Spirit ministering to the deep parts of our lives. Areas of addictions, shame and bitterness were confronted. It is amazing how Satan uses these things to hinder people from being all that God wants them to be.

This morning we talked about being the “community” of faith and how it becomes a powerful testimony and a witness to the world. We had the various youth group get together to pray for one another. Tonight, as we are getting ready to close out the retreat, I am going to talk about being a non-conformist generation in order to bring forth a revolution in this world.

Today was crazy with all the snow. But whenever I see a big snowstorm like this, I am constantly reminded of that passage in Isaiah where God says, “’Come now, let us reason together,’ says the LORD. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Isa 1:18).
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The crazy Midwest winter snowfall
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Dyon’s car covered in snow
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This is what happens when you wear glasses and step inside from the cold – no joke!

2007 Youth Retreat Update 1

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

The theme for this retreat is “All In” based upon Philippians 3:7-9, “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”

For the first night I talked about our identity in Christ as being a foundational aspect of being able to be “all in” for Christ. Then this morning I addressed the importance of worship in learning and knowing God more.

The response of the people has been great so far. There really is a hunger to experience God.

It has also been encouraging to meet people from my past. There have been several people who mentioned that they saw me during my college days when I served in the praise band, Alpha Omega and also during my youth group pastoral days here in Chicago. Now some of these guys are in the ministry and helping out with various youth groups.

I had the opportunity to meet a Ghanaian who is a pastor at a Korean English Ministry. It is awesome to think that God is raising up people from the continent of Africa to minister to people here in the United States. We had a good discussion on the whole transformasphere movement and how is using various avenues to bring the redemptive message of God’s Kingdom to various nations.

You know it is a God-thing when there are people that you have never met before and they are talking about the same things.
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Francis, the Ghanaian pastor working in a Korean church here in Chicago

2007 Youth Retreat

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

Today, the worship team and I will be heading out to Wisconsin to lead a joint youth retreat with about 10 churches in the Chicagoland area.

Since we have planted the church in Chicago, I am seeing the importance of reaching out to the youth of Chicago. They will become the future college student at University of Michigan, Northwestern University and UIC. If we can put in them a vision for God’s Kingdom and transformation, they will be hungering for it more when they get to college.

I am praying that by faith many young lives will be touched with God’s power as they experience God through worship, His Word and prayer.

2007 Christmas Blessings

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

Merry Christmas! I pray that all of you will have a blessed Christmas day as you celebrate the birth of our Savior. Particularly for those of you who are away from family or might be alone during this holiday season, I hope you experience the closeness of God Immanuel.

Our family is thinking of you.

2007 Christmas in Chicago

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

Just overnight from Saturday to Sunday, the weather dropped like crazy. It is definitely going to be a cold Christmas here in Chicago.

The family and I went to HMCC of Chicago on Sunday. It was good to see some of the people who stuck around in area. Afterwards I met up with the UIC guys to share and pray for future direction.

We are going to be heading out for dinner soon with my parents for a Christmas Even dinner. Then tomorrow we are going to gather with our extended family to eat and exchange gifts.

The kids are excited because time with their uncles and aunts translates into more gifts from the “Most Expensive” list!

Closing the Christmas Sermon Series

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

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We are closing out our series, “The Worst Christmas Ever” with part 3: “The Unwanted Gift.” I am here in Chicago and I will be preaching this message today. It is always a joy to come to Chicago and share God’s Word with everyone. Even though our church is only a little over one year old, it is amazing to see some of the transformed lives. It is a privilege to hear the testimonies of all that God is doing in this church.

As we get ready to welcome in the birthday of Jesus Christ, may we remember that the best and the greatest gift that was ever given to us was Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. “Oh, come let us adore Him!”

Early Christmas 2007

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

It was great meeting up with some of the men that I am spending time with in our church this morning. This group is special because many of them are either thinking about pastoral ministry or wanting to be part of a church plant in the future. We just sat around with some good coffee and talked about transforming the world – a topic that I can talk about for days!

Then, the family and I opened up our Christmas presents before heading out to Chicago. It was awesome seeing the joy on our kids’ faces when they opened up their Christmas presents. Seeing people’s faces light up with joy is a great motivator for giving. It is something that you cannot trade for the world.

We followed our tradition of baking a birthday cake for Jesus and then we sing happy birthday… followed by eating the cake.

Then in the early afternoon we headed out to our married couples’ Christmas party. It was a blast. Whenever the married couples in our church can get together to just hang out and have fun it is always a blessing.

Now we are getting ready to head out to Chicago to spend some time with my extended family and Christina’s side of the family. It will be great for the kids to reconnect with their uncles and aunt.

Getting the Heart Back

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

We finished off the summit tonight. It was amazing how much we were able to finish and not be distracted by all the various rabbit trails that we are sometimes (or should I say that I am sometimes) tempted to follow. I praise God because we were not only able to reflect and review this whole 2007 year, but we were able plan out some macro (and micro) level things. It is our prayer that we will get back to a place where everything is flowing out of our love relationship with Christ.

If there is any one theme that stuck out for me is simply – “getting the heart back.” In many ways we have lost our heart for Christ and the church. Therefore, there are so many of us who have just survived by going through the motions. But God wants us to not just survive but thrive. This takes ruthless actions as we do whatever it takes to guard our time with Christ and grow in our intimacy with Him.

As we get our heart back, I am confident that God is going to use us as His vessels for His glory… what an awesome privilege we have. The year 2008 is going to be filled with awesome surprises and we give God all the glory.

2007 Reflections

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

The Board members and I spend some time reflecting, repenting and recalibrating. We were able to praise God for a lot of things this past year. God has truly been faithful to us as a church. We have seen transformed lives and God was opening many doors for us.

But the sobering part of it all was the fact that we have lost a lot of the heart and passion behind things. A lot of it hinged on the fact that people were not growing deeper in their spiritual life. Also, due to all the busyness there has been a breakdown of discipleship, which is one of our core DNA. This also contributed to the fact that people were not getting trained to live out their ministry and destiny in Christ.

We spent some time in prayer – which is sometimes the only thing we can do.

For 2008, we know for sure that we have to address some of these issues. It really doesn’t matter what God is calling us to do because if we don’t have some of the basics down then we will be build on sinking sand (Mt 7:24-27).

2007 Board Summit

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

The Board of Directors and I will be heading out for a day and a half summit to pray, plan and prepare for the new year.

There is a greater urgency for prayer in our church. Whenever God is working, Satan is always hanging around trying to counter the work. We really need to seek the Lord because there will be a lot of decisions that will need to be made that will affect the future direction of our church.

We covet your prayers.

1st Class Service Fuels Impatience?

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Viewpoint

It is great traveling with Christina especially when she gives illumination to things that I might not normally see.

All throughout this trip, one of the complaints that I had was how certain things were done slowly and inefficiently (one of my top 10 pet-peeves). Whether it was waiting in line for service or trying to get to our destination, we were constantly bombarded with delays.

When we finally arrived in the United States and as we were getting ready to get on our flight from LAX to DTW (our last leg of the trip), I mentioned to Christina how nice it was to be able to have faster service in the airports because of my Platinum Elite status with Northwest.

She just smiled and said, “All the 1st Class service makes us more impatient and more demanding.” I wasn’t sure if she was talking to me directly or to certain group of people in general :-) But either way, the point was poignant and taken to heart.

As I reflected on what she said, I realized how true her statement was. When we are pampered and treated like a king and receive all these amenities, then it is easy to start expecting it and we start to complain when we don’t get it.

This is why it is always good to have things not go our way at times.