Getting Settled

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

Yesterday we had a great opportunity to worship together with other English speaking people at a well-known international church in Jakarta. The familiarity of the songs helped us engage in worship.

Afterwards, we went out with a handful of people who knew about us wanting to start an international church. It was great just fellowshipping with them and having some good conversations. Then in the evening we had an informal meeting for the church plant. It was great to see all the people who came out. I had the opportunity to share the vision and mission that God placed in our hearts.

Then, we ended up sharing in a meal and building more relationships with one another. This is one of the benefits of starting a church. It is all about the relationships and the connections.

Today, Christina and I went to Jakarta to take care of various logistical things. It was quite an adventure for us because we were trying to make our way to Jakarta without knowing the language. We decided to take the bus into the city. Wow, it was quite an experience in trying to purchase the tickets, find the right bus, knowing when to get off, taking the right taxi and stopping at the right place to meet the person that we were supposed to meet. I think I have mastered the art of body language. I am pretty fluent in it.

In Jakarta, we located a used car for our team. God also provided for us in a huge way with other items for our housing. It is just humbling to see God give us this much favor with people.

As we were getting ready to purchase some furniture for the house, we got a phone call from one of our alumnus. They mentioned that they know of someone (it is all about the connections) who rented out apartments and that they were going to get rid of the furniture that the previous tenants have left behind. When we went to the apartment complex, we were humbled to realized that the furniture were very good quality and in good condition. But the biggest praise of this was that they gave it to us for FREE! It was close to $7,000+ worth of furniture. Not only do we have everything set for our place of residence now but we saved a lot of money. God is truly our Provider.

There are still a lot of things that we have to take care of, but as we are depending on God, we are learning that He is leading us every step of the way. God is good.
I had the privilege of sharing the vision and mission of this international church plant
It was a great group of people who gathered for our informal meeting
We shared in a meal together after the gathering. Our kids are enjoying Indonesian food!
Homemade shaved ice dessert!
People building community with one another
It has been encouraging to see our team members reaching out to people

Touchdown in Jakarta

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

It was a blessing to see some of the alumni come out to the airport to see us off to Jakarta. For some reason, I get this feeling that this Jakarta church will go beyond just Ann Arbor people planting it. There are people around the world, who are supporting and praying for what God is doing and what God is going to do through this new church plant.

It was a short trip by plane from Singapore to Jakarta, but the anticipation was building to finally arrive at our destination.

As soon as we landed, we were greeted by people inside the airport who helped us through the immigration line (we felt like a VIP). After getting our luggage, we packed up three cars and headed out to Karawaci.

It was great seeing our alumni.

We dropped off our luggage at the teammates’ apartments and then we headed out to dinner. Since our place does not have furniture, we were not able to move in yet. It was a bit frustrating since we have been living out of a suitcase the last 4-5 days. But this is once again a lesson of trust and dependence on God.

Right now, we are headed out to an international church in Jakarta. Then we will have our first informal meeting with some people who are interested in starting the church with us. The team and I are just excited to get everything started. God is going to do great things.

Transitioning in Singapore

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visits

We got in to Singapore safely. It was a long flight but my family and the team made it by God’s grace. We were picked up at the airport by several of our alumni around 1AM! We went directly to a retreat center and then spent all of Thursday just resting. One of our main objectives was to make sure that we adjusted to the time zone and get over the jet lag. Also, we wanted to adjust to the new culture and we felt that coming to Singapore first was a good middle ground before heading directly to Jakarta.

It was good spending time together as a team to reflect, study the Bible and to pray. These times are precious; therefore we made the most of these opportunities.

Today, we headed out to see the city. Traveling with just a few people compared to a whole team is always a challenge, but we were able to get to one place to another by taking buses and trains to get to our various locations. We also logged in many miles of walking today. It was a lot of fun checking out Little India, Malaysian town, Chinatown and the Escapade. Singapore is such an awesome city!

But the best part of the day was spending time with the HMCC alumni. Many people came out and even though some of them could only come out for a short time, it was encouraging to see all of them.

It warmed my heart to hear that some of them are still getting together two times a month to share, pray and fellowship together. This is definitely a good foundation for a future church plant if the Lord leads us in this direction.

After dinner, we all went out for dessert. Our team gave gifts that we prepared for them – some Michigan apparel and HMCC things. But the blessing for us was when we received a love offering from the alumni. I am always humbled to see the generosity of our alumni. Not only are they constantly treating us when we go out to eat, but they decided to partner with us in this church plant by giving financially.

We will be heading out to Jakarta tomorrow. The adventure is beginning!
We are all packed into a bus
The oldest mosque in Malay town. It reminded us of the mission in Indonesia.
Walking around Little India
Checking out Chinatown
The ever increasing skyline of Singapore
Kite flying reminded us a little bit of home
We decided to take a family picture
Getting ready to eat with the alumni
Some of our alumni wearing their Michigan apparel
Our alumni sent us off with their financial and prayer support

Our Step of Faith

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

Today has finally arrived. Pretty much, Christina and I stayed up all-night trying to finish up last minute cleaning and packing (well, it was more because of my stuff).

As we got picked up to go to the airport, Christina and I did a double check to make sure that we did not leave anything. For a brief moment, in the empty living room, I started to get a bit nostalgic. I was going through a wide range of emotions. In that empty house I felt as if we just arrived to Ann Arbor, but then again, we were leaving for one year to Jakarta.

It is hard to describe but it was a pretty weird feeling.

When we got to the airport and checked in our luggage, we were blessed to see so many of our HMCC members coming out to say goodbye. Many of them took time out from their busy schedules as well as their lunch hour to drop by and say bye.

After they all prayed for us, it was time to go. It was hard saying goodbye to everyone, even though we were going to be back in one year. We truly do have an awesome church filled with some awesome people.

More to come… in this journey of faith for our family.

Never Losing the Awe

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various, Viewpoint

Photo by U.S. Army
Albert Einstein once said, “He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.”

The thought of losing the wonder and the awe in my life is something that I think about quite often. I don’t know what it is, but for some reason as we get older it is easier to get jaded and more cynical about life. Maybe the idealism slowly starts to fade. Maybe the reality of who we are hits us harder. Maybe our weaknesses and shortcomings are more blaring.

Regardless of the reason, losing the sense of awe is something that we have to guard our heart against.

The more I think about it, I can’t help but to think that having a sense of awe is connected or at least correlated with our humility and gratitude levels. When we realize that we don’t deserve anything, then it is easier to be humble and grateful for things.

When we don’t take things for granted, then we are amazed at who God is and all His provisions in our lives.

People have said that “familiarity breeds contempt.” I am wonder if we are just “expecting” God to do things for us therefore when He does work, we are not in awe. When things become too familiar to us, then we don’t realize what it feels like when we don’t have that particular thing.

Steve Goodier shares a story about a man experiencing the sense of awe that we need in our lives. He writes,

“A man on his way to lunch happened to notice a visitor in Venice’s Piazza San Marco standing among the pigeons and gazing in apparent rhapsody at the Doge’s Palace. After his meal he noticed the same man still studying the magnificent structure. Curious as to whether he’d been standing there all morning, he asked the man, ‘How long have you been here?’ ‘Twenty six years,’ came the reply, ‘and I never grow tired of it.’”

May we never grow tired of all the things that God does in our lives – both great and small.

Jakarta Send Off Service

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

Today, we had our send off service for the Jakarta Team. Christina said that I would tear up sometime during my sermon. I challenged her to place a bet on it. Let’s just say that I got on the stage and didn’t even say a word and I lost it. I think singing the song, “How Great is Our God” in Bahasa Indonesia prior to me preaching really got to me.

I shared about the importance of being a “sending church” and a “strong church” in order to fulfill God’s mission as HMCC. We never want to lose the heart for transformation – it always starts with our own lives and then ripples out to the nations.

There were three things that happened that really encouraged me:

1) There were a lot of new people today at church. Many of the parents from our church planting team came out for the Send-Off Service. I could tell that they wanted to check out to see if the pastor that they were going to entrust their children with was legit or not :-) There were also some people who were new to the area and they were checking out various churches. This Sunday just happened to be the one when they decided to check out HMCC.

2) I was able to meet a national pastor who visited our Sunday Celebration. As I was getting ready to go up to preach, I was introduced to a pastor from Pakistan. Even though I just talked with him for about 40 seconds, towards the end of the service, I felt led by the Spirit to invite him up to share something with the whole church. He gave such an encouraging word to us.

3) The whole church prayed and commissioned us. It was powerful to witness the whole church coming together to pray for us. We felt God’s pleasure today in the sanctuary. It was as if God’s Presence was just hovering over us. It was a sweet Presence. The team knows that we are not going alone. Even the churches in Chicago and Austin sent their greetings via video. Our churches have really been the wind behind our wings.

I just realized more and more that church has to be all about God. It is so easy to make it about the pastor, the leaders or even the size of the congregation but what it comes down to is that God is passionate about His Bride. He will do anything and everything to uphold His glory.

After saying all the goodbyes and praying for people, I really sensed from the Holy Spirit that He was going to take care of our church, not only in Ann Arbor but in all our sites and especially in Jakarta.

I still can’t believe God is giving me the privilege of experiencing so much of His Goodness. How can God take someone who was so lost and extend His grace and love in order that they can be a part of what He is doing all over the world? I am truly lost for words.

Independence 2009

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint

Since I am an Asian-American, I try my best to walk in between the two cultures. But sometimes I find myself identifying more with the American culture… I guess it depends on the situation. Even when Korea was playing the United States in the FIFA World Cup in 2002, I found myself rooting for the United States to the chagrin of many Korean-Americans in our church.

I think when I started to discover in greater detail the sacrifices that were made by people in order for me to enjoy the things that I have as an American citizen, I become more grateful.

On this July 4th day, I am just reminded of the cost for our freedom.

It was not cheap. People have laid down their lives for the various rights and privileges that we have here in the States.

It is easy for people to forget history. This is why I want to teach my children the importance of being an American citizen and the great honor that we have to benefit from the people who have gone before us.

In many ways, my freedom as an American citizen reminds me of my freedom in Christ. It was purchased for me through Christ’s sacrifice. It was not cheap. My ransom was paid with blood. I have been set free from sin and death.


To Be a Man

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint

Photo by Warners Bro. 300 Movie
In our society we have been conditioned to define manhood by all the wrong factors. If you ask some people to define manhood, you would be amazed to see some of the responses. Some people would define manhood by their first sexual encounter or their first drink and the list goes on and on.

But Ed Cole, the father of all of men’s ministry defines in this way, “Manhood and Christlikeness are synonymous.” He also said, “Being a male is a matter of birth. Being a man is a matter of choice.”

We have too many passive men, especially in the church. If we are serious about seeing transformation in the world today, then we need to focus on raising up men who will grow more in Christlikeness, as well as teaching them to take responsibility and make some hard choices.

It is never too late!

Of course, learning various principles of being a man is always better at a younger age, but I have seen people in their brokenness (through their failures) learn how to become the kind of man that God wants them to be in the latter portion of their lives.

Dick Innes shares,

“As a result of teaching in many seminars and facilitating small recovery groups over the years, I have met and talked to scores of both men and women who grew up feeling their father was emotionally absent. Consequently they struggled with a deep father wound caused by the feeling that they had never been affirmed by their fathers. I felt the same way for many years.

Having spent considerable time working to resolve my own father wound, I wrote my version of the classic poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling several years ago for my two sons who are now adults.

When you can rise above your
fears to conquer every challenge
that comes to those who dare
to climb the highest heights;

When you can keep on getting up each
time you’ve failed or been knocked down;

When you can see your greatest strength
lies in your faith and gentleness,
your greatest courage in admitting
your faults, and with God’s help
strive to overcome them;

When you can accept responsibility
for resolving all your hurts and break
the chain from generations past;

When you can know and show a father’s
love and feel with all your heart;

When you can love yourself, others
and God more than earthly gain,
or fame and recognition, you will,
my son, be then a man –
and indeed a great man at that.