Retreat in Cincinnati

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

I just came back from a retreat. I brought one of the guys on the worship team with me to help out with leading worship. It was a great experience for the both of us.

We ended up ministering to a small group of leaders who are serving in the inner city of Cincinnati. It was an awesome time of worship and fellowship. Once they found out that we have been fasting for 21 Days and we were going to break fast today, they ended up joining us in fasting from Friday through Saturday. It is so refreshing to find people who are willing to put everything on the line to seek after God.

The humbling part of our trip was just observing the lives of these leaders and listening to the stories of sacrifice and love. Their love for the inner-city people was inspiring.

They literally gave up things of this world in order to live amongst the people and minister to the people with God’s love. It was truly a demonstration of incarnational ministry.

Today in the afternoon we got a tour of the neighborhood. As we were driving around, I couldn’t help to notice the hopelessness and despair in the eyes of the people. We even encountered real live drug peddlers on the street corners. I was just a fresh reminder that we need God’s light to shine in the inner city.

It wasn’t too comforting knowing that there was a shooting near their place last week. We were just thankful for their bulletproof windows in their home. But even with the safety issues, the families were willing to risk their lives to preach the Gospel.

We ended the retreat by praying for each person and asking for God’s anointing on their lives. Then we ended up breaking our 21 days of fasting at a well-known local pizza place. It was great having some “grain” in my system.

As we were driving in to Ann Arbor, my heart was filled with praise for all that God accomplished in the last few days.

How to Have a Productive Day

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values

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Not everyone has a type-A personality; therefore trying to make each daily productive and fruitful is no small task. Over the years I have learned some principles that has helped me stay focus and get as much done as possible with the strength that the Lord provides.

Here are the 6 P’s that have helped me:

1) Pray. So often, we take prayer for granted that we end up not praying. Starting off the day in prayer allows me to confess my need for God and reminds me that God is the author of life. When I get up in the morning (sometimes I am like a walking zombie), I know that God has given me at least one more day to live. It helps to dedicate that day to the Lord. Prayer gives perspective, purpose, passion, power, and perseverance to go through the day. I am a big fan of Morning Prayer!

2) Picture. Before I engage in the day, I try to picture what the day will be like and what I would like to accomplish. It is helpful to have your planner or PDA in front of you. Usually for me, I am able to picture the day while I am taking a shower. I think about the meetings that I have and also the various assignments that I have to finish off. The more I am able to picture the day with fulfilling my responsibilities and accomplishing some goals, the more I begin to feel the excitement and motivation to tackle the day.

3) Plan. Once the day in envisioned or “pictured,” then we need a brief game plan. Usually it is good to plan out the whole week and then adjust it daily. We have to remember that a vision of the future will not necessarily guarantee a fruitful day. We need traction to the vision and those goals; therefore it is good to section off the days into bite-size chunks.

4) Pauses. It is easy for me to just sit at one place and stay focus for the whole day but I realized that sometimes this is not the most effective thing. Various bursts of pauses help the mind to shift gears and re-engage the work with freshness. I usually read up on various articles or check up on the news. It is usually different for different people.

5) Persevere. Sometimes I have one of those days where I either get distracted a lot or I just don’t want to work on things. Deadlines do not wait for us. This is when we have to learn how to persevere and press on. I have to constantly remind myself of the vision or end goal. Sometimes I look at a picture of my family or something inspirational (picture of the world, global city skyline, etc) to remind me of some of the key goals that I want to accomplish.

6) Pray. Closing out the day in prayer reminds me that everything is in the Lord’s hand and He is in control. When I spend some time thanking God for what I was able to accomplish (or not able to accomplish) that day, it puts everything into perspective and gives me strength to start the day afresh the next morning, if the Lord choose to give me another day to live.

Carpe diem!

Wanting to Live Somewhere Else

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint

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StockVault Photo
Recently the Pew Research Center did a survey and asked people where they would most like to live. They found out that over 50% of the people wished they lived somewhere else.

As I was reading the article, I couldn’t help but to think back to my earlier years in Ann Arbor. I remember how hard it was adjusting to Ann Arbor. It literally took us (more like me) about 3 years to finally see this place as our home.

When a person comes from a big city like Chicago and definitely has the composition of being a city-boy, the transition is even harder. But there were several things that happened which helped me in the transition; and now, I see Ann Arbor as my home.

1) Calling. I am realizing without a strong sense of calling and vision for what you are doing then the yearning to be at a different city is greater. This is difference maker. Why is it that so many young people move from one place to another? Many of them are trying to find a sense of purpose – which I don’t think it is necessarily wrong. But if they are going to stay rooted in a place, then they need to have a sense of calling – to the people, the place and/or the purpose.

2) Contentment. The Apostle Paul said, “For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation” (Phil 4:11-12). As I am getting older, I can confidently say that contentment is something that has to be learned. It is something that requires a perspective change and a passion to love God regardless of our circumstances. In our generation we are constantly swayed by circumstances. Maybe this is why we have not passed the test in the school of contentment. We also think that “the grass is greener on the other side,” until we get to the other side and then realized that it is the same grass. So often we are trying to move to the “next” big thing, but we fail to realize that some of the issues that we have are within – and we can never run away from ourselves.

3) Community. When a person gets older, they come to the conclusion that life is really about relationships. I have seen so many people move to a new city because their salary will be higher or their perceived lifestyle can be realized. But at the end of the day, they have no community and they are lonely. You can have all the money in the world and the glamorous lifestyle, but you will be empty. I have noticed that the deeper the relationships in community, the easier it is to see the current location as a place that God wants them to place their roots.

4) Church. The thing that has frustrated me so much over the years is the decision-making process of people. When people are in the process of praying and trying to decide if they should stay or go somewhere else, the church is probably on the bottom of their priority. You start to realize what is important to a person just by how they process their decision. People would rather give up a church community, in which they say that they have grown to love, in order to make $5,000-$10,000 more in their salary or they are willing to give up being part of the church’s vision because the probability of getting married is slim. I am NOT saying that everything has to revolve around church! But we do need to examine our hearts and ask God to help us look deeper into our motives. On the opposite end of this spectrum, there are people who stick around but they are so apologetic of saying that the reason for staying is because of the church. Why do you need to be apologetic? Are you afraid of what people will think or say about you? Who cares? As long as we are in the center of God’s will and pleasing to Him, we have no reason to apologize to people for staying. If you feel like you have to apologize, then I think you should pray and develop some God-size courage.

No matter where we move to or situate ourselves, the most important thing is to remember the greater vision of your life. It is hard to believe that out of a little city like Ann Arbor, God has allowed me to experience so much. He has opened the doors to so many nations, places that I could only dream of, and has allowed me to see and experience so many great things.

All this started because I understood my calling and through it, God helped developed contentment in my life and as I continue to build up community and the church, I know that God will continue to elevate me to higher levels.

You can read the USAToday article on this topic here

Pre-Programmed Answers

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values

Recently, I changed my text messaging plan on my PDA cell phone. With the increase usage of text messaging, I ended up getting a better plan so that I would not be constrained by a limited amount of text throughout the month.

I don’t know if any of you have noticed that a lot of the customer service people have a pre-set list of statements or responses. You have to love the – “Sorry that you are having trouble with your phone, I would be glad to help you.” Er… I really didn’t have trouble with my phone but it was more like my cell phone plan… oh well, they are just trying to do their job.

Then I began to explain in detail that I wanted to change my text message plan so that I will not have to go over the monthly allotment and pay the surcharges. After spending 5-10 minutes on the various plans, I told her exactly what I wanted and that I wanted to change my text message plan. Then she asked me if I wanted to change my plan. Hmm… isn’t this the reason why I call and the reason why I have been on the phone with you for the last 10 minutes.

I was trying to give some grace to this customer service person because it could have been their first day on the job and they were just trying to follow protocol. But this incident made me think a few things.

How often in our conversations with people, we have a set of pre-programmed answers? Instead of really listening to what the other person is saying, we are just responding according to what we normally been trained to do. Pastors and church leaders are notorious for this.

Listening is a skill that I need to continue to work on. It is easy to hear but then not really listen. I am constantly learning this through my wife, children and members. They can be talking and I can be hearing them, but if I am not listening then it will put a barrier in the relationship. Active listening and spontaneous questions along the way go very far. This is the art of connection.

Punished for Winning?

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Viewpoint

I had a question: “Should a person or a team be punished for winning?” Oh, I forgot to mention one pertinent information… the final score was 100 to 0.

This is the gist of what happened:

1) A women’s basketball game between 2 private high schools
2) The Christian private school won 100-0
3) The winning coach got fired after he said that he would not apologize for blowing out the other team

As I was reading this story, there were many different thoughts that came to my mind.

By firing the coach, what does it communicate to the players? If the team did not run up the score, would it have communicated something about mercy?

No matter how you look at it, there is a conflict of values.

Covenant School (the team that won) made this statement, “It is shameful and an embarrassment that this happened. This clearly does not reflect a Christlike and honorable approach to competition.”

Then in response to the school’s statement the fired coach said, “I do not agree with the apology or the notion that the Covenant School girls’ basketball team should feel embarrassed or ashamed. We played the game as it was meant to be played. My values and my beliefs would not allow me to run up the score on any opponent, and it will not allow me to apologize for a wide-margin victory when my girls played with honor and integrity.”

Christina and I believe in teaching our kids to give 100% and do everything with excellence because it honors God. This is something I believe in passionately. But the problem is when this value comes in conflict with the value of mercy.

There have been times when I have been on the losing side in various sporting competition and it does not feel good to lose; therefore to be shutout by 100-0, it must have been hard to shallow.

There is more to life than just winning. This would have been a great opportunity for the coach to teach the girls something other than just basketball skills and hard play.

I don’t know how the game was played but I hope the winning coach put all their 2nd and 3rd string players in the game once they knew that they had the game in the bag. Sometimes showing mercy in a genuine way without compromising on the value of excellence is the fine balance we have to learn how to walk through life.

You can read the news article here.

Breaking Habits and Starting New Ones

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Viewpoint

As I was driving today, I was reminded of an important principle. There is a street near my home where there used to be a stop sign at a railroad track. Now, they have replaced it with railroad signals and a rail guard. I sometimes take this road when I am coming home from a different route.

Today, as I approached the railroad track, I realized that I found myself slowing down (as if to stop) but then about 10 yards before the railroad tracks it dawned on me that the stop sign is no longer there.

As I passed the railroad track, I concluded that humans are creatures of habit. Then I began to think about what was shared this past Sunday in our new series called, “Rewired.”

Many of us have developed a “habit” of doing things. We don’t even think about it. It is so much a part of us that even though circumstances or factors change, we find ourselves repeating our behavior over and over again.

I know it is going to take a few more times of driving through the same road that I will be completely free of stopping before that railroad track.

In the same way, if we keep on developing new habits of renewing our minds, than we will find greater victory in areas that we struggle with at times.

Rewired Sermon Series

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

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This series is a by-product of many months and weeks of discussion with the pastoral staff, as well as with the church staff. In all my counseling session, I have noticed that there is always a common thread to a lot of the problems that people were facing – an incorrect thought process. Simply put, what goes on in a people’s mind will determine how they will feel, behave, and look at life.

We have become of an illiterate generation when it comes to the Bible. We have more people in the church that know more about pop culture than knowledge of the stories in the Bible. This systemic problem goes beyond just knowing the biblical stories. We just don’t think as biblically as people of faith did in the past.

It is easy to blame it on various factors, but what it comes down to is learning how to “rewire” some of our thought processes and start getting wired in a such a way that we think like Jesus. We, as church want to be able to say what the Apostle Paul said in 1 Co 2:16 – “But we have the mind of Christ.”

This series will be covered in 3 weeks as we talk about:

1) The Disciplined Mind
2) The Discerning Mind
3) The Decisive Mind

Once we begin to get rewired, we will have the amperage and the power to do greater things that God has in store for us.

The Fast the Lord Requires

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint

In most sports competitions there is something called a “halftime.” Not only is it a time to rest and refresh for the 2nd half of the game, but it is a time where the coach can speak to the players to help them to refocus on the goal, which is to win. It is amazing how a team can be behind on the scoreboard, but right after the halftime huddle, the team would come out charging and eventually win the game.

This is a little bit of what I want to accomplish as I write this post.

Now that we have passed the half way point of the 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting, I wanted to say a few things.

In the words of the prophet Isaiah, God spoke to the Israelites in the midst of their religious fast and sacrifices and said this,

“For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’”

“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?’”

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.” (Isa 58:2-9 NIV)

As we were preparing for this 21-days of fasting, we talked about checking our motives and getting our hearts in line with what God desires. A lot of times, it is easy to think that as long as we have all the external things in order (i.e. eating certain things, not eating certain things), then somehow God has to answer some of our prayers. But the reality is that God doesn’t have to do anything for us.

If God does answer our prayers and even perform miracles, it is purely out of His Sovereign grace and mercy. In some ways, this should humble us knowing that we cannot “twist” God’s arm to “do” something for us.

I know that some of you have been trying to be faithful to the things that you have committed to during this fast, but I want to challenge all of us to rethink about our motive and re-examine our hearts.

Fasting is a spiritual discipline that has a way of bringing to the surface our selfishness and our self-centered motives. But if this fasting is just a change of diet, then we have missed the point.

I have been giving this some thought.

What does it take for the “self” to die and allow Christ to live in us? Then I thought about the John 12:24-26 passage. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”

In this world, everything is about preservation and wanting things to last. But the reality is that unless we are willing to give things up and even willing to die, then we have not really started to live (Braveheart-esque). All throughout Jesus’ teaching in the Gospel this was one of the points that He was trying to drive home. Unless we are dead to our self-righteousness and selfish motives, it will be difficult to say, “yes” to the things of God.

Even the thought of serving God, we cannot do it on our own will power or strength. Why? Because serving God requires death to our service to other things. it is difficult to serve two gods (Jesus and ourselves). One side will always take supremacy and pre-eminence.

Some of us are praying for things that are related to the future (e.g. “what should I major in?” “should I stick around for another year?” “should I take that job?” etc.). But the challenge for us is: “If God revealed His will for us, are we even ready to accept His will?” So often His will is not our will. There are many times when God tells us to do things that go against our own desires, flesh, dreams, and wishes. But this is the key. If our “self” is exalted and has not died, then no matter what God tells us to do, we will not be able to say “yes” to His will. But if we learn how to “die” to our “self” through the spiritual discipline of fasting, then we will be more prepared to receive what God has in store for us.

This is why I am challenging all of you who are doing the 21 days of fasting to finish off your commitment with just fruits and vegetables (no tubers and no legumes) for the last week and then just liquid on the last couple of days (Friday and Saturday). The “self” never willingly wants to die and sometimes when we deprive it of things, it begins to hurt. I am wondering if the pain (the pang of hunger) will remind us of our need for trust and dependence on Christ all the more.

Read the Isaiah passage again, but this time in several other translations:

“They’re busy, busy, busy at worship, and love studying all about me. To all appearances they’re a righteous nation that would never abandon its God. They love to make a show of coming to me and asking me to take action on their behalf. But they also complain, ‘Why do we fast and you don’t look our way? Why do we humble ourselves and you don’t even notice?’

“Well, here’s why: ‘It’s because you are living for yourselves even while you are fasting. You drive your employees much too hard. You fast, but at the same time you bicker and fight. You fast, but you swing a mean fist. This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me [or] won’t get your prayers off the ground. Do you think this is the kind of fast day I’m after: a day to show off humility? To put on a pious long face and parade around solemnly in black? Do you call that fasting, a fast day that I, God, would like?”

“This is the kind of fast day I’m after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts. What I’m interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families. Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The God of glory will secure your passage. Then when you pray, God will answer. You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’” (Isa 58:2-9, NLT and The Message)

The Extinction of Church Discipline

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Viewpoint

I have always found it amazing when I hear comments from people which expose their self-centered perspective. For example, it is pretty amazing when someone says, “Why can’t that person speak English?!” The most appalling part of this is that they are saying this not in America, but in a foreign country! (I still shake my head in disbelief). Then there are others who would say, “Why do we pray out loud in one voice in church prayer gatherings, isn’t that a Korean thing and aren’t we trying to be a transcultural church?” It is at that moment I realize that this person has never been out of the country and/or have not interacted with Christ-followers from other countries. If we have never experienced non-Koreans praying out loud in one voice, then the conclusion might seem valid. But we know that just because we have never experienced something, it does not make it invalid or untrue. It just seems like common sense, but nowadays we cannot take anything for granted.

I bring all this up because when it comes to church discipline, so many people see it through the lens of the Western mindset (the rugged individualism). This is why so many people do not fully understand the significance of church discipline or they have a strong aversion to it because it goes against the self-reliant and individualistic mindset. Also, churches are so gun-shy of disciplining their members because instead of following Scripture, they follow the currents of society and have lowered God’s standards.

Recently, I was reading an article on church discipline and it just reaffirmed the importance of it and the wisdom in having church membership.

If there is anything that people need to understand about church discipline is the fact that it is always for the benefit of the individual. But it is so hard to see it this way because so many people who are getting disciplined see it as something that they are being “punished” for, rather than seeing as an avenue to grow in Christ-likeness, restoring a healthy biblical community, and displaying the holiness and glory of God.

Some principles to keep in mind when it comes to church discipline are (the 4 R’s):

1) Relationships. The discipline must be done in the context of relationships. This is why if the person is not a covenant signing member and they do not have relationships within the context of biblical community, then it will be an uphill battle. Who are they accountable to? Why in the world would they want to go through church discipline if they don’t feel the responsibility of being in community? It will be hard to follow the principles laid out in Matthew 18:15-17.

2) Restoration. The ultimate goal of any church discipline is restoration. When a person deviates from God’s ways or falls into destructive behavior that affects them and the faith community, then it is imperative that discipline is applied. Once again, without the relationship then it will be hard to accomplish the end goal. In that relationship there has to be humility and a willingness to do what is “right” and not what might make a person “feel good.”

3) Revelation. One key component of church discipline is to help people see the holiness of God and how He is constantly preparing the Bride to be a radiant Church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish (Eph 5:27). When people see the seriousness of sin, then they will understand more of God’s honor and glory. The more we ignore sin and go under “sin management” mode, then we will turn a costly grace into a cheap grace that will weaken the Church. How can we take God seriously, if His people flippantly take God’s Word?

4) Redemption. When church discipline is done correctly, there is a Gospel story to be told. There is not only the pain and damage of sin, but there is grace, mercy and God’s love woven into the whole story. It becomes a powerful testimony of how God can take some of our failures and mistakes and transform it to something beautiful. It is the beauty for ashes story and this always enables us to give praise to God.

If there are many benefits, then why aren’t churches engaging more in church discipline? Ken Sande of Peacemaker Ministries in his article says, “[There’s] a general breakdown in respect for authority, and the embracing of individualism, the attitude that says nobody can tell me what to do. And even the democratic perspective in our country has entered many churches, so people believe everything should be done in a democratic way.”

Sande hits it right on the nail.

Another contributing factor is the lack of commit to the local church. Sande says, “I believe churches that allow a lack of commitment for an extended period of time is an error both biblically and legally. We should be calling people to make a formal commitment to membership. It used to be the case that you could not move from church to church without a letter of transfer. That was done to maintain accountability and discipline. We need a clear commitment to membership, but we also need churches in a community working together to discourage church hopping. In some communities churches have begun to sign covenants of cooperation saying they will not sit back and allow people to move from church to church to church looking for a new thrill, and causing the same problems each place they go.

He gives an excellent illustration by stating, “The situation we find ourselves in today is like allowing all the kids in the neighborhood to play in your back yard. If they do some really bad and destructive things you are going to have a hard time responding because they are not your children, and you are limited in the discipline you can use. Today churches basically allow people to come in and play church year after year, but when there is a serious problem they find their ability to deal with it to be very limited.”

It is my prayer that the Church will regain the healthy perspective on church discipline and have the guts to exercise it so that God’s glory will be displayed – then just maybe people will start taking God seriously.

The Burden of One Man

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Viewpoint

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AP Photo
Yesterday’s inaugural ceremony was pretty impressive. You can truly feel that something incredible was happening. Not only was history was being made, but there was a sense of unity in the National Mall. In all the news reports and even on the radio, people were commenting about how things felt so different. Words such as, “emotional, energy, and enthusiasm” were constantly used by the news reporters.

Christina and I also watched a little bit of the now infamous “Neighborhood Inaugural Ball.” You really sensed that something was different about this president. What other president had a “Neighborhood Inaugural Ball”? What other president went against the flow and helped people to understand that this election was not about him but more about people by throwing a ball for the “common folks.”
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AP Photo
Even seeing the Hollywood stars come out in droves, it reminded me that he is a very well liked president. After seeing some of the great music entertainers perform and even as some of them shed tears of joy and watching some of the people (the inaugural ball participants), it really made me think.

I have concluded that people have very high hopes. People long for change. People are putting all their trust in one man to carry them to their destiny.

This is a burden that President Obama has to carry.

Call it what you want to – whether it is all the hysteria or hype – but the reality is that no one-person can do everything. There is no one who knows this better than President Obama. In many of his greetings at the various balls, he kept on emphasizing the importance of how change is going to happen when the people do their part. Translation = “I am not the savior, all of you will have to participate to bring forth the change that we all envisioned together.”

Many people who are public figures will always have to deal with this.

People love to “look up” to other people, especially if they embody something that believe in and desire to be a part of. But one of the dangers of this is that we can set ourselves for a letdown. This is why seeing people in the proper perspective is so essential. But most importantly, it is vital that people come to the conclusion that there is only one person who is able to meet all our expectations and who will never disappoint us.

May people see our lives and see the One that deserves all the attention and glory.

“Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.” (Ps 115:1)

The 2009 Presidential Inauguration

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Viewpoint

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AP Photo
The tides are changing. The thought of having our first African-American president was unimaginable 20 or 30 years ago. But here we are making history. These are exciting times.

Today was the inauguration of our 44th president, Barack Obama. Due to our global staff meeting, I was not able to watch it live but I viewed it online. It was pretty powerful and moving for me.

Seeing the sea of people gathered at the nation’s capitol to watch the swearing in of the new president was incredible. The thought that our generation and my kids’ generation just witnessed history is pretty awesome.

I am constantly reminded about the privilege that I have in being a citizen of this country.

With all the challenges and difficulties that President Obama will face on his first day, we will need to pray for our newly elected 44th president of the United States of America.

As in the words of Rick Warren (from his prayer), “we celebrate a hinge point in history.”
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Reuters Photo

Here is everything that goes into a Presidential Inauguration. It is definitely a busy but exciting 1st day.

MLK 2009

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

This year’s Martin Luther King, Jr’s celebration will be like none other. It is amazing how key moments in history intersect with current events. With the inauguration of our first African-American president tomorrow, King’s dream of equality and freedom is becoming a reality. Who would have ever imagined that on the nation’s capital, where King gave his speech, the swearing in of the 44th president would be an African-American?

Today will also be special because thousands of Americans will be joining together to honor King’s legacy by having a day of service. You can check out the website here. On their website they state,

“In 1994, Congress transformed the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday into a national day of community service to further commemorate a man who lived his life in service to others. As a tribute to that legacy and the very real needs of our nation, the President-elect and Vice President-elect have launched a national organizing effort on the eve of their Inauguration to engage Americans in service. This national day of service will fall on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, January 19, 2009 and, unlike past calls to service, President-elect Obama is calling on all Americans to do more than just offer a single day of service to their cities, towns and neighborhoods. He is asking all of us to make an ongoing commitment to our communities. Never has it been more important to come together in shared purpose to tackle the common challenges we face.”

It should be an exciting day.

In memory of Martin Luther King, Jr’s, here are just a couple of my favorite quotes from him:

“The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.” (Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love, 1963)

“If a man hasn’t discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.” (Martin Luther King, Jr., speech, Detroit, Michigan, June 23, 1963.)

Here is probably one of the greatest speeches in the history of the world. It transformed a nation. It is worth watching all of it.

Reflections on the 2009 Retreat

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Victories

We finished off the retreat today. As I was driving back home with my family (the 2 ladies were sleeping), I had some time to reflect on the retreat.

First of all, I was thankful for our worship times. God graciously allowed us to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth (Jn 4:24). There is something powerful when God’s people are able to unite together with worship. I sensed a genuine hunger and thirst for God. It definitely created an atmosphere where the Holy Spirit was able to work.

Secondly, I was thankful for the ways in which our members were ministering to one another with prayer. When God’s people pray for one another, there is an anointing that is released. I am amazed at how many times, people are able to tangibly experience God’s love when someone is praying for them.

Thirdly, I was thankful for the obedience of our members when they were challenged to fill out the response sheet and make some tough decisions. It was a powerful site to see all the response sheets placed on the altar as an act of commitment and devotion to Christ.

As we are continuing in our 21 days of prayer and fasting, already we are seeing God do some incredible things. I believe that our hunger for God has increased during this time of fasting. It was definitely evident at the retreat. What an awesome way to start off the 2009 year. We are believing for great things this year.

HMCC Joint Winter Retreat 2009

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

Winter Retreat09.jpg
I’m pumped for our annual congregational winter retreat. We will have HMCC of Chicago join us again this year.

The theme for this year is, “Poured Out.” We have been praying that God would pour out his anointing over us at this retreat so that we can then, pour ourselves out to the nations as a living sacrifice.

This is one of the highlights for me throughout the yearly church calendar because this is one event where the whole church can gather together all across the different life stages. We will have families, married couples, college students, single adults, youth group, and international students all coming together to seek after the Lord.

I am getting a bit sentimental because this is going to be the last winter retreat until we come back from Indonesia in 2010, which means that we won’t be at the next congregational retreat until 2011.

As we have been fasting and praying for this retreat, I believe God is going to speak to us and give us a fresh revelation for the future.