UIC Inaugural Service

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Victories

We had a great inaugural celebration yesterday on the campus of University of Illinois-Chicago. It was exciting to see our church enter into the campus of UIC. The part that encouraged me the most is that about 2 years ago when we planted the Evanston site, we put in the DNA of church planting and reproduction. We casted the vision of church planting, not just reaching out to the Northwestern Campus, but also to other campuses and communities in the greater Chicago area.

This past Sunday was the reality of the vision.

We had a great turnout with a lot of freshmen coming out to the service. Afterwards, we had dinner together and spent time building up the relationships. We are realizing that the harvest is plentiful on this campus and we want to do our part in spreading the Gospel and God’s fame.

We are off to a great start.
Pastor Jimmy giving the announcements at our historic inaugural celebration at UIC

Karissa’s Party

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

Karissa finally got to celebrate her birthday with some of her friends at Jump City – a premier inflatable indoor party zone. It is so different having a birthday party at Jump City with a bunch of girls compared to just boys. It is a bit calmer, but nevertheless it is chaotic with all the kids running around.

After they worked up a sweat from climbing up and sliding down inflatable slides, we celebrated KiKi’s birthday with a Coldstone cake and then opened up the presents.

It always brings a joy to the parents’ heart when their kids are happy and having a blast. What a day!
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Something about girls and their need to travel in packs :-)
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KiKi is Ms. Social Bug… she is constantly flying around talking with everybody
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The boys are in the “cage” and playing a game of basketball
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KiKi is ready to blow out the candles
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Getting ready to open up the presents on the queen chair
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The difference between girls and boys – the boys sweat, while the girls gently perspire

Josiah’s Soccer Team(s)

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

Josiah decided to play soccer, not only for the Vardar Ann Arbor club team but also for his school’s team. At first, Christina and I were a bit hesitant due to the increase of school work in middle school, his commitment to Velocity (our Junior High ministry), and other responsibilities.

But he wanted to play with some of his good friends from school, so we gave him the freedom to choose and hopefully through it he can learn about time management and balance.

Now the problem for Christina and me is trying to find the balance to juggle all the kids’ school events and extra-curricular activities. As the kids get older, it seems as if things get harder to find the balance. I can’t wait until the kids know how to drive :-)
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Playing soccer with your friends makes everything more fun

My Little Girl’s 5th B-Day

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values

It is hard to believe that KiKi is 5 years old today. It has been 5 years of pure joy that she has brought into my life, as well as in our family’s life. She has added an awesome dimension to the interaction in the home. She is really a gift from the Lord.

Due to all the busyness, we have decided to do our tradition (eating together at the restaurant of the b-day person’s choosing) this coming Sunday.

This morning she is excited to bring some pictures, a book for the teacher to read, and some cupcakes to celebrate the big day with her classmates.

DJ in Town

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

Yesterday, DJ Chuang came into town to spend a few days with us. He is a fellow networker, strategist and innovator, who has a great big heart for God’s Kingdom. DJ currently works with the L2 Foundation and also with Leadership Network.

It is always awesome to talk with guys who are constantly thinking about innovation and looking into the future.

After dinner, some of the leaders and I had an opportunity to sit down and just chat. We talked about various issues ranging from multi-ethnicity to how churches are using technology. We also discussed briefly about multi-site issues.

I’m looking forward to spending some more time with him today.

Patriot Day

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values

Today marks the 7th Anniversary of the September 11th attack on the United States. It is also known as the Patriot Day. By a vote of 407-0, the House of Representatives approved a bill which designated September 11th as a day to remember the nearly 3,000 people that died in the terrorists attacks.

It is hard to believe that time went by so quickly. I still remember exactly the place where I first heard the news of the attacks. It will be for our generation a moment in history that we will not forget.

The dictionary defines “patriot” as, “a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion.” I am realizing that it is harder to see people who have this kind of spirit in our generation as we did in the past generations.

As an U.S. citizen (naturalized, not born in the U.S.), I am thankful for all the benefits and blessings I have received from the people who have laid down their lives to obtain it for me.
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Picture from AP: Flag Memorial at the Pentagon during a 7th Anniversary of Sept 11th ceremony
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Picture from AP: Friends and family dropping flowers at the Reflection Pool at Ground Zero

Spontaneous Date

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values

It is still a bit surreal for Christina and me to think that all our kids are at school for the whole day. Gone are the days where we had to pick up the kids in the middle of the day, which usually broke the rhythm and the flow of the day – especially when we were in a zone taking care of something.

Today, Christina had to stop by the Transformation Center for something and then she stopped by the office. As we were talking, we decided to spontaneously go out for a late breakfast and just hang out to talk. A part of me was thinking about all the stuff that I had to take care of, but I realized that these moments are special moments that might not come again; therefore I just went for it. At the end of our time together, I realized that it was good to do things out of the ordinary.

As we were walking back to the T-Center, we were talking about how we felt like young again. I guess as we get older we lose some of the spontaneity.

Another axiom I learned today: “Spontaneity sparks something special with your spouse.”

We Finally Have a Home

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Victories

We had a great inaugural celebration yesterday! It was exciting to see all the people come into the sanctuary of the Transformation Center. Seeing their reaction on their faces was awesome. It was quite a testimony that we were able to get everything ready for the celebration. The contractor told us that what would have taken 3 months to finish everything, we were able to do it in one month. It is a testimony to God’s grace and favor.

As I was reflecting on this, I couldn’t help but to think about the Book of Nehemiah and how the people of God came together to do something that many people said could not be done (rebuild the walls of Jerusalem). But they had a great vision and a great God who strengthen them and helped them through. This is our testimony as well – we have a great and awesome God who empowered ordinary people like us to do something that could not have been humanly done.

In fact there were some people who stayed up all night to get things ready. Even when I went in to check on the progress late Saturday night (Sunday early morning), there were so many people there still cleaning and working on the set up for the service. It really blessed me to see everyone getting involved and giving their time and energy to make the dream a reality. This is why I love pastoring this church… our members are one of a kind!

During the celebration, after my message, I had people write out a prayer for their application. We wanted our prayers to be the foundation for the T-Center to be used for God’s glory. Therefore, after collecting all the prayer cards, the Board of Directors and the Executive Team gathered later in the day to place it in the ground as a symbolic gesture. We then prayed together and asked God to use the prayers to be the foundations for our church now and into the future.

We believe that God is going to use the Transformation Center to ripples out to the nations.
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It was T-minus 3 hours before the doors opened at 9:30AM
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The pastors and I made the first dig
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Christina played such a vital role in the renovations and also lifting up all her prayers
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I was explaining the significance of all the prayers that was locked up in the box
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The pastors and I placing the prayer box

Bye Bye to Set Ups

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

Yesterday, at our Friday ACCESS gathering, it was our last time of setting up our band equipment at Angell Hall. It was a pretty moving moment as we have been a portable church for the last 12 years. I think the worship team got a bit misty eyed and nostalgic :-)

But I think they were more grateful and happy that they will not have to wake up early to set up or waste time breaking down the set up every week. This will give them more time to minister as they spend time with people in their LIFE Groups.

They got so nostalgic and filled with joy that they called me over to take a picture with them in this historical moment… haha!
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It is such a joy serving with the Worship Team

Transforming Lives… Transforming the World

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Vision

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This Sunday will be our inaugural celebration in our new Transformation Center. We are praying and working hard to get everything ready for the big day.

As we come to this historical moment, I am going to share on our mission at HMCC. Our mission of “transforming lives into Christ’s disciples who will then transform the world” has been something that we have tried to do for the last 12 years. As we have heard many testimonies throughout our history, we are confident that we are seeing greater fruits of transformation now, more than ever.

One of the reasons why we believe God has given us this facility is because He desires to use it to bring forth more transformation; hence we gave it the name the Transformation Center. We pray that as lives are being transformed in this building, the transformed people will go out to the world and transform it with the Gospel message.

Sola Dei Gloria! (Latin: For God’s glory alone)

Training Camp for Churches

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values

There are so many sports illustrations that help highlight a biblical truth. I love how the imagery of a team in sports gives us insight to the life of the Church. Dave Burchett, who wrote, When Bad Christians Happen to Good People, uses the football imagery to talk about how we assemble our church team.

I thought that this was very interesting because he has made a connection (at least on the illustration aspect) of how a church gets ready for a new season of ministry is somewhat similar to how football teams train to get ready.

Burchett writes,

     You start with a couple of All-Conference performers and a few other pretty good players. But you also have several who just started playing and don’t even know the rules or terminology of the game. Add some dreadfully out-of-shape, middle-aged players who have been around for years, who never work out or train, but who expect to get playing time nonetheless. You have a few who just don’t care anymore and don’t want to practice, learn the plays or listen to the coach. But you can’t cut them from the team or even bench them without causing big problems.
     There are some who try hard but are too weak or injury prone to be effective. A few regularly miss games and practices without notice and then reappear expecting to play and even start. Toss in some… umm… ‘mature’ players who remember the way the game was played back when it was really good. You also have some players who think the coaches and assistant coaches are total idiots. Some passionately believe that the offensive game plan is totally wrong and that all the other players need to change to comply with their personal team philosophy… now! And then you have some who try to run their own plays when they go into the game.
     Many of the players meet regularly at Denny’s after each game to disparage the coach and staff after saying grace over a Grand Slam breakfast. How do you think this team would perform? If they ever won a game, it would be a miracle.”

It is so true, isn’t? No team with this kind of situation that would be able to win a single game. As the new season of ministry is starting, it is imperative that we are all on the same page. The stakes are too high and people’s souls are on the line.

It is my prayer that now that OCR is over and we are in the regular season of ministry, we will reap a tremendous harvest. I am praying that we will see some incredible plays that will inspire other people to play on their highest levels.

Every football team at the beginning of training camp talks about winning the Super Bowl and being champions. I am hoping that we are not just talking about it but that this year we will start winning some championship for God.

Getting Closer Every Day

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

Now with 3 more days before the big inaugural celebration, we are trying our best to get everything ready. In football terms, it is 1st and goal and we are on the 10 yard line. It always takes great focus to bring the ball over for a touchdown.

It always boggles the average “sports watcher” why the team who is so close to the goal line cannot bring the ball over for the touchdown. Unless you have played sports, especially football it might not really make sense.

We have to keep in mind that when a football team is that close to the goal line, the opposing team is that much more determined not to allow the touchdown. Also, we have to remember that there is a heightened pressure on the offense, as the need for the score increases. There are other factors but the bottom line is that the last 10 yards is sometimes the hardest.

This is why everyone in our church needs to be focused. They need to be willing to put everything on the line in order to see the inaugural celebration become a reality.

The next 3 days will be busy and many people will have to sacrifice their time and energy to help get the Transformation Center ready. But we have some great people in our church and I am confident that we will be celebrating a victory on Sunday – another huge milestone for us.
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These are the chairs that we need to place in the sanctuary once the renovations get finished. We are hoping the chairs will be in the sanctuary by Saturday.

We have purchased these chairs by faith. We started a project called, “Reserve-A-Seat.” We were asking the members in our church to purchase a seat for themselves, as well as to pray about purchasing a seat for one of their friends that they want to experience God in the T-Center.

At this point the purchased chairs are at 42%. We need the other 58% of the chairs to be purchased ASAP. Some of us have been joking around and saying that many people this Sunday will be sitting on chairs that are in debt.

If you are reading this and have not purchased a chair yet, you can click here and participate in the project of getting 360 chairs in the sanctuary.

Kids’ Are Back in School

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

Yesterday, the kids started school for this new year. Even though they had a half day, the reality of going back on a tight schedule hit all of us. The summer fun has ended and now we are back in business with academics and their other extra curricular activities.

After this week, Karissa will even be in school for the full day as she starts Kindergarten. Christina and I have been talking about how things will change even for us because she will now have more time to do other things. It is amazing how Christina was able to hold off on a lot of her dreams so that other people can achieve theirs – she has made a tremendous sacrifice.

Now we are talking about having more frequent morning dates with exercising together, a breakfast, and just spending time together. She has also mentioned about studying some more, volunteering or even getting a part-time job. I told her to take it easy and slow. The woman is truly excited! And I am so happy for her. It is really a new stage of our lives.

Covenant Retreat 2008 Update

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Victories

Our married couple’s retreat was a blessing. As the theme was centered around “Radically Committed,” we focused on being radically committed to Christ, to our spouse and to God’s Kingdom mission.

Phil and Barb Tiews did a phenomenal job of sharing from their 36 years of marriage experience. Their wisdom and their love for the Lord really ministered to our group. They even shared some vulnerable things that really allowed God to them to speak to us.

It was a joy for me to see all the married couples retreat focusing in on their marriages and just expressing their love to one another.

As we start off our new season of LIFE Groups next week, we have a lot of momentum to build the couple’s ministry. We excited about building our marriages, our families and our community.
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We fellowshipped together with some game and food
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Our morning session together
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We had breakout sessions where we collectively brainstormed together on various issues
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The Tiews ministering to some of our couples
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We were able to pray and bless the Tiews for their needs
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I am thankful for my friendship with the Tiews for the last 12 years – it really is a joy partnering and serving the Lord together for His Glory!