What’s on Your Calendar?

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values

I was just recently reading an article that caught my attention. It read, “What’s on Your Calendar?” For some reason I was drawn to read the article because my mind was thinking, “there are a lot of things on my calendar.”

The article was written by H. B. London Jr. who oversee the pastoral ministries at Focus on the Family. He writes,
 

“There is a commercial now running on television that concludes with the words, ‘What’s in your wallet?’ This past month and early into January, I have received any number of calendars. Today, as I was looking at a new one just opened, I thought, ‘What’s on your calendar?’ The more I pondered that statement, the more profound the thought became – ‘What’s on your calendar?’

The Psalmist wrote in the beautiful 139th Psalm, ‘All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be’ (v.16). A divine calendar whose entries were penned by God Himself. He had things in mind for us. I often wonder how my calendar compares with His.

As most of you know, my assignment at Focus on the Family requires that I travel a lot. Some of those trips are ‘calendared’ several years in advance. There are times when I forget them until they are upon me. I live my days by a calendar – some days hour-by-hour. But the question remains: ‘What’s on your calendar?’

For instance, does each day note adequate time for you to spend with your Lord? Hopefully, those times are early in the morning. I trust your calendar provides you with sufficient time to show honor and concern for your family members. Does each month have a notation that reads ‘date with spouse’ and/or ‘quality time with my daughter’? Perhaps, ‘basketball game Friday at 7:00 pm.’ What we hear so often from your colleagues is a cry from their families just to be included.

Another entry in your calendar should be the yearly medical check-up. I must admit someone usually places that one on for me – but honest, my friends, ‘the temple’ deserves some special attention. If you do not make time, you place your effectiveness in jeopardy.

How about clearing an afternoon or two each week to ‘walk in the village,’ to rub shoulders with those in your community who need to see you from a perspective outside the pulpit? You shepherd best one-on-one. Oh, and what about your day off? Do you guard it or do you allow other things to take away your sabbath? Is your vacation scheduled for 2006? If you don’t do it, soon the pages will be filled with other things.

I don’t mean to belabor the fact, but your calendar tells more about you than anything. It speaks of spiritual discipline, priorities and, most of all, your intimacy with the God who called you and your special gift called family.

 
 
In many ways, there is truth to what he was writing. Just like our check books tell a lot about what we value and what is important to us, our calendars (or lack of one) communicates something to us. I am trying to find a better balance with everything that is on my plate. Some of the things that are on my calendar are pretty obvious (i.e. family, time with God, sermon preparations, etc) but other things need more attention.

The tricky part is always trying to separate what is good from what is the best. This is why spending some time in prayer and seeking the Lord helps in the discernment process.
 
 
“Man’s steps are ordained by the LORD” (Pr 20:24, NASB)

“I know, O LORD, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps”
(Jer 10:23, NIV).

Running with Christina

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

This morning was a beautiful day to run outside. After all the snow storms and cold weather, it was nice that the weather was getting warmer. As some of you know, Christina loves running. She has mentioned that it is her way of “getting away” and being in her own sanctuary. For me, I am trying to stay healthy and live to see my grandchildren, Lord willing.

We ended up running together at Gallup Park. It is really different from running on a treadmill. The scenery was great and the Spring air filled my lungs. After this run, I was inspired to plan for the half-marathon. But there is one glitch. The race starts at 8AM and Sunday Celebration starts at 10AM. This means that I have to run 13.1 miles under 2 hours. Hmm… maybe the thought of making it on time for church will push me to run faster. The only other thing that will motivate me to run faster is a dog chasing after me… HA!

The Original You

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Viewpoint

As I talk with other pastors and church leaders, I am finding out that one of the things that we struggle with is comparison. I guess it is pretty obvious. Sometimes it is easy to look at someone else’s ministry and wonder why God is “using them” or “blessing them” more than my ministry.

The natural thing to do is to start mimicking them or even implementing things that have worked for the other ministry. The scary thing about this is that we can do more damage than good.

When I look at my journey, I realized that there were many times when I wanted to be like someone else. On one part, it is understandable because I was still trying to find my identity and discover more of how God wired me up. Then on the other hand, I found myself with the need of repentance because it was just my desire for fame and glory that fueled the comparison.

Now, I am slowly realizing that the best “sweet spot” in ministry is when we are able to know who we are and then flow out of that security. It is amazing to see how “different” so many pastors and leaders are from one another. In fact, this adds to the mosaic of the Body of Christ. If we were all grey in color, how dull would that be? We need some neon blue and hot pink.

I came across a video that Ed Young, pastor from Fellowship Church made that included Joel Osteen, pastor from Lakewood Church. It was emphasizing the important point of being who God created you to be. It is very clear that Ed Young cannot be Joel Osteen and Joel Osteen cannot be Ed Young. They are from the opposite ends of the spectrum but they both have high respect for one another.

Check out this video. Ed does a hilarious impersonation of Joel.
 
 

Miracle Sunday Offering Update

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Victories

It has been quite a journey for the last 40 days. When we started, I wasn’t quite sure how everything would turn out. All I knew is that God wanted us to respond in faith and obedience. Sometimes I wonder if some of the characters in the Bible felt what I felt going through the 40 Days to Destiny. I think about Abraham, Noah, Moses, Mary, and so many others who responded to God in faith and obedience. Many times things do not make sense or even seem possible when God tells us to do something.

This is why the Apostle Paul reminded us that, “we live by faith, not by sight” (2 Co 5:7). And faith is “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do no see” (Heb 11:1). All we knew in this journey of faith was that God wanted us to experience more of what He has destined for us as a church.

When the totals came in after the Miracle Sunday Offering, I was blown away. In just one Sunday offering we raised $137,003.93! To some churches’ standards, it might not be much but in terms of where we are and the composition of our church members, it is truly a miracle and we give God all the glory!

I am so blessed to be a pastor of an awesome church that is made up of awesome people. I am truly humbled and grateful.

“And without faith it is impossible to please God…” (Heb 11:6).

A Reflection on the 40-Days

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Vision

As my family and I are getting ready for the Miracle Sunday Offering and the Pledge service tomorrow, I couldn’t help but to feel this sense of gratitude in my heart. It is amazing that our whole church went through 40 days of reading the Bible together, as well as spending time in prayer for the Destiny Campaign. For our family, it was a joy to see the boys reading through the Bible schedule. We also spent Mondays sharing about the passage and praying together for the Destiny Campaign.

When I thoroughly think through what we are trying to do as a church, I am just speechless. We are not a church with a lot of well-established adults who have made their fortune and fame. Instead, we are a church with a lot of college students (who have little resources), single adults (just starting off in their careers) and young families (navigating through their tight budgets).

How in the world are we going to raise $1.7 million and even shooting for $2.2 million with renovation cost? It seems like such an incredible feat that unless God is in it, it is doomed to fail. This is what we are banking on. We believe that God is in it and that God is with us. This is why we can respond in faith.

Just today, I sent out an e-mail to the church reminding them about the Miracle Sunday Offering and the Pledge service. Then within a hour of my e-mail, an alumnus who is half way across the world responded back with an amount that they want to give. When I read the e-mail, it blessed me a lot. Then I realized that even though they are thousands of miles away and they haven’t been back to Ann Arbor for a long time, they are still committed to the vision. When I told Christina this, we came to the conclusion that those people who have truly experienced transformation are the ones who will give sacrificially. Why? Because since they have experienced it for themselves, they want other people to experience it as well.

I believe these past 40 days have been journey of faith. Now, as we a day away from reaching the next step in our destiny, I am confident that the people of God will respond by faith to the challenge that is before us.

I just praise God for His Faithfulness to our church for the last 11+ years and it is His Faithfulness that will carry us through the future. What an incredible ride!

American Idol and “Shout to the Lord”?

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Various

Did you hear? This week in American Idol at the closing of the program, the top 8 finalists all sang, “Shout to the Lord.” This is huge! Even though they took out the word, “Jesus” in the beginning (replaced it with “shepherd”), it really was shocking to hear that they sang a worship song on national television.

At this Q Conference, we saw a video that was produced by Charity Water and it talked about the need for clean water in various parts of the water. It was a powerful witness when we found out that this video was going to be played at the American Idol, as they were going to feature some of the charities that will be supported through Idol Gives Back.

The founder, Scott Harrison is a Christ-follower and has a powerful testimony of how everything got started. As he shared during one of the sessions, it reminded me of the importance of engaging the media world and making an impact through deeds of mercy.

Check out the video that was played during American Idol:
 

 
 
 
I am wondering if the producer of American Idol is a Christ-follower because someone influenced the show to have “Shout to the Lord” performed. Possibility. Also, it seems as if some of the finalists are believers as well. We are slowly approaching a time where people of faith are using the medium of the arts and media to be the “salt and light.” This is truly an exciting time. I am praying that we will see more people in the Church that will use their artistic talents to glorify Jesus Christ.

Here is the American Idol’s version of “Shout to the Lord”:
 

Q Conference Update 2

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

Today was another day of non-stop brain food being delivered within 18 minutes per session. I am still amazed how these communicators can speak on things that are on their heart for only 18 minutes. Not only does it take discipline, but it takes the wisdom to cut out all the “fat” and just give the people the lean beef.

The speaking line up today consisted of Louie Giglio who leads the Passion Ministries, Jamie Tworkowski who started To Write Love on Her Arms, Jim Wallis who leads Sojourners, Dave Gibbons, and other speakers engaging various sectors of society.

For lunch, I was invited by Leadership Network to connect with some other pastors and church leaders. It was cool meeting up with some guys who represented Michigan. Some people from Kensington Church in Troy and Westwinds Church in Jackson were there. It was great bringing some Michigan love to NYC.

In the afternoon, we all divided into different groups and went around to different part of the city to be part of learning communities. I went with the city church planting group. It was great having it at Redeemer Presbyterian Church’s office. We went over some basic principles of planting a church in the city and then Jon Tyson from Origins Church came and shares about some lessons he learned from planting his church. It is a great sounding church, especially as they are engaging the city in a whole new way.

Then in the evening there was a concert given by The Frey. Afterwards, there was an informal gathering of Asian-American pastors and leaders. We ended up hanging out with food and fellowship until the midnight hour. It was a blast.
 
 
 
Louie Giglio at Q Conf08.JPG
 
Louie Giglio talked about what he loves to talk about the most – the glory of God and college students!
 
 
 
Jim Wallis at Q Conf08.JPG
 
Jim Wallis reminding us that spiritual renewal was always the catalyst for change and not politics
 
 
 
The Fray at Q Conf08.JPG
 
The Fray did a mini-concert for us right in the middle of Gotham Hall

Q Conference Update 1

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

The first day of the conference has been incredible. We are meeting right in the heart of the city in Gotham Hall. At this conference, it has been like drinking out of a fire hydrant – just so much of the good stuff coming out all at once. Each speaker gets exactly 18 minutes to give their presentation; and surprisingly, they have all kept to the 18 minutes. In fact, they have a large LCD screen with a countdown, both for the speaker and the audience to see. Pastor Andrew and Moses have been open to the idea of our church getting the countdown to keep me in check… haha!

We heard from top-notch speakers who are engaged in their sphere of influence and trying to shape culture with a Kingdom perspective. Speakers, such as Francis Collins, Chuck Colson, and Tim Keller really made a splash with their presentations.

I have been able to reconnect with DJ Chuang and some other Asian-American leaders at this conference. The L2 Foundation sponsored a dinner at K-Town in the city. It was great eating together and chatting about things but when we came back to the conference it was not good for the people sitting next to us.

Tomorrow we have another full day packed with great speakers and idea generating sessions. I think this is where I thrive… whenever I am around other innovators, it inspires me and reminds me that I am not the only crazy one out there.
 
 
 
Colson at Q Conf08.JPG
 
Chuck Colson has shaped some of my thinking about cultural transformation
 
 
 
Seth and Colson.JPG
 
I had the privilege of talking with Chuck Colson for a little bit – he is truly one of the heroes of transformation in our generation
 
 
 
Tim Keller at Q Conf08.JPG
 
Tim Keller gave a compelling talk about “grace in the city” – it was a very convincing presentation
 
 
 
Andrew and Pinkberry.JPG
 
It is always a joy to see people’s first experience of something. This is Pastor Andrew’s first experience of Pinkberry… can’t you tell?

MORE in 40-Days to Destiny

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values

As we are coming to a close of our 40-Days to Destiny Campaign, I have been blessed to hear of various testimonies of how God has been working in the lives of our church members. But one question continues to come up – “After the April 13th service and when we obtain the facilities, then what is going to happen?”

It is a good question because since we have been focusing on spiritual growth within this 40-Day campaign, what will happen afterward? And my response is simply – “We need to continue to grow!” We should never stop growing. This campaign was put in place so that we can build some momentum, not only for the April 13th service, but more importantly, for what is going to happen afterward.

I felt the Lord placing the word, “More” in my heart as we were halfway through this campaign. I sense that these 40-Days are to prepare us for the future things that are to come. Therefore, I just came up with an acronym for the word “MORE” to help us focus on growth even after the 40-Days to Destiny Campaign is over. It is simply:

M – More Ministries

O – More Opportunities

R – More Resources

E – More Evangelism

 
Once we get our own location there will be greater growth in our ministries as well as new ministries starting up. Therefore, there has to be people who are growing spiritually so that we can prepare and respond with a heart of service to the Lord.

Secondly, with the new building there will be more opportunities to minister to people and the community. With a stable location, we will have more visibility and integration to the campus and community. This will enables us to reach out to and disciple more people that God will be bringing in to our church.

Thirdly, as people are growing spiritually there will be more resources needed to allocate for building God’s Kingdom. As our church develops more, we will need more people-resources and financial-resources to make things happen. Without spiritual growth, we will not be able to respond to God and meet the need.

Lastly, as we are growing spiritually we believe more evangelism will happen. For some reason, whenever we grow spiritually, we begin to gain more of God’s heart; and God’s heart is for the lost. We want to see God filled in the house of worship every Sunday and Friday.

With only 4 days left, let’s look beyond this coming Sunday and look into the future – even to 2009 – and see the possibilities of growth that could happen and growth that needs to happen. May we desire “MORE!”

Chillin’ with the Family in NYC

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

We are wrapping up our short 2 day trip to NYC. I think this has been the most walking I have done in a long time (I am pretty sure I have done my whole year’s worth in the last 2 days). As we have been trying to cut cost, we decided to save some money on transportation by taking the subway and walking to various places.

Today was also the day for waiting in lines. I am pretty sure God designed the process of waiting in lines for things as a way to purify a person and develop patience :-) We waited close to 2 hours in line for the Statue of Liberty tour and then we waited in line to get some cheap tickets for a Broadway show. By God’s grace, there were still some cheap tickets available for “The Little Mermaid.” It was truly a miracle! It was KiKi’s dream come true and the boys’ nightmare. But after the show was over, everyone expressed their delight. The show was beautifully done.

One thing that stuck out for me today was seeing the American Merchant Mariners Memorial in Battery Park.
 
 
Merchant Mariners Memorial.JPG
 
 
 
I took this picture as we were waiting in line to go to see the Statue of Liberty. This memorial was a portrayal of a dramatic rescue on a merchant marine vessel after it was attacked by a German U-Boat. At first, I was not able to see the submerged hand that was reaching out to the person on the sinking boat. But when the water receded with the outgoing wave, I was able to see that the person on the boat was reaching out to a person who was drowning.

This picture etched in my mind just one phrase – “rescue the lost.” I couldn’t help but to think what a great depiction of a Christ-follower reaching out to a person who is drowning in their sins. God has called us to participate with Him in rescuing as many people as possible from the grips of Hell. The question is – “Am I willing to risk my life to save others?” It just reminded me of my mission in life.
 
 
 
Carnegie Deli 2008.JPG
 
One of my favorite places to eat! Their corn beef and pastrami sandwich is off-the-hook.
 
 
 
Time Square 2008.JPG
 
Right at the heart of the city at Time Square and Broadway
 
 
 
Kids and Lady Liberty.JPG
 
Elliot “educated” us with his knowledge of the Lady Liberty tidbits
 
 
 
Kids and Subway.JPG
 
The kids loved the subway!
 
 
 
Little Mermaid 2008.JPG
 
Closed out the night with a Broadway show, which was God’s gift to us

I am Dethroned

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

The results are in for this year’s NCAA Tourney pool that our family did together. The new reigning champion is Christina!

The boys and Karissa was out of the running awhile back but Christina and I were running pretty neck and neck last week.

Now she gets to choose a restaurant of her liking as we celebrate her win together as a family.

Spring Break in NYC

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

The family and I will be spending a few days in NYC. With all my frequent mileage, we were able to get free tickets. I am looking forward to spending some quality time with them, albeit it is only for a few days. It is things like this that help the kids remember that ministry will never supersede Christina’s and my commitment to them.

Then the family will head back to AA, while I will stick around for the Q Conference. It is going to be a gathering of like-minded people who have a heart for societal transformation. I am looking forward to reconnecting with some the movers and shakers in their sphere of expertise.

Frosh Class Gathering

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

It was great hanging out with the Freshmen class last night. I opened up the floor for questions and of course questions about how I met Christina, relationship and all the fun stuff came up :-)

I did close out by sharing about giving 3 months to a year of their life overseas as we are praying about starting up an international church in the future. It was the first time I share about this in detail with one whole class.

Each class plays an important role in carrying on the “vision of the house” to the next generation.
 
 
 
Frontline Class of 2011 - 2008 Pic.jpg
 

April 2008 HMCC Highlights for Alumni

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

Even after this trip out S.E. Asia, I was reminded about the importance of being connected to the network of relationships that God sovereignly brought together. In every single stop that we have made (from Singapore, Hong Kong to Jakarta) it was great reconnecting with people who shared a common experience – transformation at HMCC!

We know that every year, as more people graduate and get placed in various parts of the world, there will be a greater network of relationships and friendships. It is always encouraging to hear what God is doing in various parts of the world.

Every month we try to publish “HMCC Highlights” so that people, who are physically gone from Ann Arbor but still want to be connected with what is going on here will be able to do so through this medium. We give updates, praise and highlights on the months “happenings.” We, also try to highlight one alumnus a month.

If you are not on the e-mail list then please contact us. We would love for some of you to give an update on your life (i.e. marriage, work, transformation testimonies, etc).

Here is the most recent update with the Easter 2008 weekend and our alumni spotlight… click here.