Missions Week 2008

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

Missions Week 2008.jpg
I just got back from Jakarta. I can’t wait to share more of what God is doing in that part of the world this coming Sunday.

It was great having a meal together with the family tonight. After all the meals on the road and all the company of people that I ate with, it is just refreshing to sit down with your own family and share life together.

This whole week is Missions Week for us here at HMCC of Ann Arbor. One of the things that we are excited about is that Pastor Paul Liu, one of the missionaries that we support from Southeast Asia, is coming to speak.

We are looking forward to hearing from Pastor Paul, especially in light of starting the international church in Jakarta. I know that he will have some great personal testimonies about reaching out to the Muslims in Southeast Asia.

It is my prayer that through this Missions Week we will be more focused and purposeful as we prepare to plant our first HMCC international church in Jakarta.

Jakarta Update 10.29.08

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

I am at Singapore’s Changi Airport right now (waiting for the ticket counter to open). Today, I had the opportunity to meet with Dan and Yonas for lunch in Karawaci. It was great talking about business and transforming society through various spheres. For some reason, whenever I am around business minded people they expand my mind and perspective on the things.

Then I meet up with Louisa and Engel and had some Indonesian Sundanese food. It is known for its spicy-ness. It blows up in your mouth… it is not for the weak of heart (or weak of palette). Then, they dropped me off at the airport.

I am looking forward to processing all the informational things that I have gathered from this trip and sharing with HMCC members this coming Jakarta Church Plant Informational Meeting. The plane rides are the best for this.

Now, I am just waiting for my family to come home so that we can see each other through webcam – oh the marvels of technology… even though we are far away we are not too far!
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My own created space at Changi Airport

Jakarta Update 10.28.08

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

Today Lord woke me up early (5AM) therefore I had this strange feeling that He wanted me to intercede. I spent some time praying for Indonesia and the church plant in 2009. I headed out to Karawaci again this morning and went through the long one-hour commute. A person can possibly spend a quarter of their life in traffic.

I had a meeting with Aileen Riady, the wife of the Lippo Group executive. She is actively involved in Sekolah Pelita Harapan, the Christian international school. It was great talking with her. It is hard to find people who have such a passion and vision to transform nations.

As we were talking, I had the opportunity to share about the vision that God placed in our hearts. The vision of planting college campus churches on or near global cities, then clustering the international students together to send them back to their country to impact a nation was discussed. I also shared about the significance of the Transformasphere Movement and how that is going to play a part in raising up future Kingdom workers who will transform various sphere of society with the Gospel.

I also had the privilege of sharing about how planting this church in Jakarta is going to play a part in the bigger vision of transformation. There was definitely a kindred spirit as she shared some of her passion in helping students grades K-12 to develop a strong spiritual foundation, as well as a vision for using their education experience to transform the world.

Then, afterwards, I did more house rental “shopping.” Man, this is definitely not something that I can get up early in the morning for… I am just a servant boy doing the bidding of a lady who wants to make sure that we have a place to stay when we get here :-) In the last 1.5 days, I think I saw a totally of 10 houses… Lord have mercy!

In the evening, I met up with two elders from Jakarta International Christian Fellowship. It was great to hear each of their stories as well as how JICF got started back in the mid-1990’s. One of the elders (an Indonesian) studied at Seattle University and Purdue University. As he was sharing his testimony, I couldn’t help but to notice that a lot of what he went through is what I have been noticing in our alumni.

We are on to something.
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I was tempted to get out of the taxi and hop on a motorcycle
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I couldn’t help but to notice the Starbucks at this hospital… classical globalization!

Jakarta Update 10.27.08

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

Today was a full day. Due to the limited time here in Jakarta, there have been back-to-back meetings with various people. I met up with Pastor Dave Kenney, from International English Service and talked about obtaining a religious visa so that our family can get into Indonesia. He’s a great guy. Over the years, I have met pastors who are either “kingdom-minded” (“k”) or “Kingdom-minded” (“K”). Every conversation I had with him, I left the meeting realizing how refreshing it is to be around a person who is more concerned about God’s Kingdom than trying to build up his kingdom.

When Christina and I first came to Ann Arbor to plant HMCC, we had some pastors say that another church was not needed. For some reason it was hard to believe when over 80% of people in Ann Arbor were unchurched. Either they have a great strategy to reach everybody or simply, we need more churches.

Even as I look at Indonesia, the need for more churches that will reach out to the increasing numbers of overseas college graduates is great. It is our prayer that God will give us the privilege of doing our part in building God’s Kingdom.

I also went around with a realtor to look for housing. I realized that this is not my gift; therefore I took a lot of picture so that my better half can make the decision for our family.

Afterwards, I met up with some of the alumni to have dinner. It was great meeting up with some alumni who did not go to HMCC. The thing that they had in common was the experience as students who studied overseas. It was a great time of sharing. It really felt like a LIFE group going out for dinner and having a great time of fellowship.

This is the kind of stuff we will have to do in the first year of the church – which is to simply experience biblical community whenever we have the opportunity.

Singapore Update 10.26.08

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

This morning we went to two church services. One was an Indonesian church that attracted a lot of the Indonesian speaking people in Singapore. They also have a translated English service where the congregation is a little bit more diverse. Then we headed out to a service where one of our alumni attends.

After visiting three churches within a span of 20 hours, I realized that we serve a big God. There are many different churches for many different people. This is why I am a firm believer that no single church has it all to reach out to the vast and diverse group of people within a city.

One of the churches had good expository preaching, while another one was strong in worship and another one was outward focused with evangelism. It would have been powerful if there was a church that balanced all these things… but alas, no church is perfect. This is why we need to continue to stretch ourselves so that we can fully live out our calling as the Bride of Christ.

Afterwards, some of the alumni and I just hung out at a Starbuck until they had to drop me off at the airport. I arrived in Jakarta safely and it was great to be greeted by Louisa who is now married!

There is a full day tomorrow with various meetings.

Please continue to pray for open doors.
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Instead of dancers with flags or banners for worship they used “fans”… yup this is Asia!
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Stephen was the only one who knew the Bahasa language that is why he looks like he is getting convicted
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Another Sunday Celebration at a different church

Singapore Update 10.25.08

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

I finally arrived in Singapore around 2:10AM! I was encouraged to see Jackson and Stephen waiting up for me to give me a ride to my hotel even though it was late.

After a few hours of sleep, I met up with Jackson in the morning and spent some time catching up. We talked about the potential of reaching a campus in the center of the city. It is one of the top universities in Singapore which specializes in Business Management.

I was blessed to hear that some of our alumni are praying about reaching out to the international students at this school. There are students from Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Iran, and etc. Since our alumni know what it felt like to be international students in the States, God has put a vision in them to reach out to these students.

I then met up with some of the other alumni to interview them for my paper. As they were answering some of the survey questions and sharing with one another, I noticed that there was a special connection. It was if they understood what each person went through while in the States. It just confirmed for me the need to start up international churches with the international students to reach the nations.

We ended up visiting City Harvest Church for their Saturday service. Then afterwards we went out to eat at a restaurant that was located on a street lined with restaurant. With so many choices, I don’t know how a person can decide.

After dinner, we called it a night since we will be visit two more churches on Sunday.
Singapore Management University showing their own version of “ivy”
SMU is right in the heart of the city
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I can always eat a noodle dish
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It was a great interview with some of the Singaporean alumni
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We prayed for the Jakarta international church plant
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People were already gathered (on time) and ready to worship – incredible!
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Visiting churches that have similar spirituality is always encouraging – same God, same Spirit!

Layover in Japan 10.24.08

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

You know that you have to stop traveling when:

1) You have to start dating the entries because there is only so many ways to say that you are at a layover

2) You start recognizing and feeling a sense of comfort at particular airports

3) You have memorized all the free hotspots for Wi-Fi (even if it “borrowing” from exclusive lounges that you do not have access to)

4) You know where some of the few coveted outlets are for your computer

5) You know by which gate number some of the favorite eateries are

6) You start getting this déjà vu feeling like you have done this before sometime in your lifetime

Heading Out to Jakarta and Singapore

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

I am at the airport getting ready to board for my trip out to Jakarta and Singapore. I am looking forward to spending some time with our alumni in Singapore. It has been encouraging to know that some of them have been meeting together monthly. I am hoping that God will strengthen them and encourage them as we meet to fellowship and pray together.

Then I will be heading out to Jakarta to finalize a lot of things for our move out there. I really need God’s favor for the various meetings. I will be updating as much as I can throughout my trip.

Christina’s B-Day 2008

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

We were able to celebrate Christina’s birthday before I took off for Jakarta. We followed in our tradition by having a meal (this time it was a snack since Christina and I were going to have dinner together), going around and saying why we are thankful for the birthday person and then having cake together.

Then Christina and I went to our favorite steak house here in Ann Arbor. We love this place because on your birthday they give half off on the total check. Then with all the gift certificates we received, we end up getting some money back… what a deal!

I ended up surprising her with some flowers delivered at the restaurant.

I am so thankful that God brought her into this world and most of all into my life.
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Doing our b-day tradition
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The love of my life

We Were Wrong

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

It is interesting when a business website catches wind of a church apologizing to the public. In an article on the Entrepreneur.com website, Keith Stewart, lead pastor of Springcreek Church in Garland, TX gives a public apology about the failure of the Church by taking out a full page ad in The Dallas Morning News and Dallas Observer on October 16, 2008.

It was entitled, “We Were Wrong.” It goes on to read, “We followed trends when we should’ve followed Jesus. We told others how to live but did not listen ourselves. We live in the land of plenty, denying ourselves nothing, while ignoring our neighbors who actually have nothing. We sat on the sidelines doing nothing while AIDS ravaged Africa. We were wrong; we’re sorry. Please forgive us.”

Pastor Keith Stewart explains by saying, “No one’s perfect. You blow it. I blow it. And the Church does, too. I’m sure that you (like me) have, on more than one occasion, had to make something right by apologizing. So why is it so rare to hear a church apologize? The truth is, an apology from the Church should not ‘stand out.’ But it does, precisely because that the Church rarely does what it tells others to do. We want to change that. With this public apology, our foremost desire is to take responsibility for how we have failed in this area because with 100% responsibility for our attitudes and behaviors comes 100% forgiveness. And secondly, in keeping with the spirit of repentance, our desire is to keep our eyes on Jesus and allow Him to keep us focused on His mission.”

You can watch the video on their website with further explanation or just watch the YouTube video below.

2008 Undergraduate Retreat Reflections

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Viewpoint

It seems like every year at the Undergraduate Retreat God does something “unique” for that particular season in our church. This year, it was the first time that we had three campuses come together from UM, NU, and UIC. Whenever you get people from different campuses together it is hard to build unity, but from our time of worship the various campuses were able to unite in Spirit.

This reminded me of the importance of having a common spirituality. We didn’t have to do a lot of explaining of why we do what we do, but as we were worshipping together, we sensed that everyone was on the same page. The Holy Spirit was confirming in all of our hearts about the power of worship.

After talking with some people, it seemed as if God spoke through the messages and they were challenged to live a radical life for Jesus. I was particularly blessed to see all the people coming up to the front to be anointed (consecrated) with oil to be used for God’s Kingdom. It was a powerful way to close out the retreat.

Now, the hard part is the follow up and the continued faithfulness with our commitments.

Some things that have helped me in the past as well as other people are:

1) CONSISTENT time with God. One important aspect of a retreat is the regimented schedule in spending time with God. We have to keep this up after the retreat. We have opened up the Transformation Center at various times so that you can come and have consistent time with God. Take advantage of some of the morning prayer times and chapel times that we have provided for all of you.

2) COMMIT to LIFE group. There is nothing more applicable to the retreat blessings than to get involved in your LIFE groups. As you live out God’s convictions in the context of biblical community, you will begin to see those convictions solidify in your life.

3) CHALLENGE each other.
Get a wingman or wingwoman (is there such a thing?) and get them to challenge you with your commitments and faithfulness. Spiritual growth is rarely done as a lone ranger. There always needs to be other people that we are being sharpened by or that we are sharpening (Pr 27:17). This helps us in keeping up with our commitments and even aspiring to greater things.

4) CHANNEL the passion into service. Retreats have a way of getting us pumped up but if the passion and excitement is not directed towards serving God, then it will quickly fade away. The crazy thing about serving is that as we serve we realize more of God’s heart. This enables us to stay focused and continue to sacrifice more to build up God’s Kingdom.

5) COMMUNICATE the Gospel to others. The Dead Sea has no outlet for the water that flows from the Jordan River; hence it becomes a basin for collecting deposits. The comparison is simple – people who just receive blessings but never have an outlet to share the blessings will just be sitting there collecting deposits. They will be spiritual couch potatoes. The best way to release the blessings and then receive more is to share the blessings by sharing the Gospel.

The Palin Dichotomy

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Viewpoint

There was an USA Today article entitled, “Southern Baptists Back Palin Despite View on Women’s Role.” Mike Baker wrote that while the biggest Protestant denomination holds to the belief that a woman may not lead a church or a home, but they do not see anything wrong with Sarah Palin serving as Vice-President (if elected) and possibly as President.

Hmm… I am just trying to put the pieces together.

If the statement by this denomination is true (as well as many other conservative denominations), then a person can conclude, “It is ok to lead men in any context except for the church and home.” Then, I am wondering what the unbelieving world is thinking and how they view the church.

I am not trying to get into a theology discussion here (I am sympathetic to both sides of the discussion), but I guess this is something to consider especially in light of the negative views the world has of the Church.

You can read the article here.

Stained Glass Windows

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

Alice Miller Chapel.jpg
This is a picture inside the Alice Miller Chapel on the Northwestern University campus in Evanston, IL. It is beautiful. It really took my breath away as I saw all these stain glass windows. It was not the typical iconic windows with all the Christian themes, but it still had the awe-striking effect as I walked in.

One thing I realized is that the stain glass would not be able to display its beauty without the sunlight coming in from the outside.

How similar it is with our lives?

Without God’s light upon our lives, people will not be able to see the radiant beauty. With our broken and fractured pieces from our lives, God creates a mosaic with those pieces and then shines His light, which causes us to emanate God’s grace and mercy.

Back to Chicago for a Wedding

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

I am headed out to Chicago today for a couple’s wedding who attend HMCC of Chicago. It is right in the middle of our Undergraduate Retreat therefore I will have to drive back and forth. But it is going to be exciting to see our first wedding from the church in Chicago.

The vision of planting churches on university campus on or near global cities, in order to reach that city has been our strategy. As students graduate and stick around in the city, then they will be able to not only reinvest in the university ministry, but they will be a vital part of the Single Adult ministry, as well as the Married Couples ministry in the future.

The mission of “reaching a campus to reach the community in order to reach the city” is something that we are committed to pursing with all our hearts.