Leadership Laboratory

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint

 

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Whenever I have some quiet moments to think and just envision about the future, the topic of leadership often comes to my mind. In any organization, a lot of things are dependent on the quality of leaders. This is why leadership gurus have always said, “Everything rises and falls with leadership.” In my leadership journey, I definitely see the truth behind that statement.

There have been times when my effectiveness as a leader was compromised because of various hindrances; whether it is a bad attitude, lack of love for people or a character flaw, some of these things impede the ability to lead successfully.

This is why I have always argued that leadership is really a process and something that has to be developed. In some ways, it is really an art. There are a lot of elements of leadership where it is methodical and it just requires basic discipline. But yet at the same time, there are a lot of things about leadership where it requires an aptitude in listening, looking, and learning.

Whenever I tell people that we are all called (or will be called) to be a leader, I get an incredulous look. One major reason is that people always see leadership in the context of the church and then automatically think that it means being a leader of a LIFE Group or some other ministry. But whenever I make the comment about everyone being called to be a leader, I am referencing to the various roles that we are currently in or will be in.

If we define leadership in the words of John Maxwell, then “Leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.” If we have this perspective on leadership, then it is easy to see how we can become leaders (influencers) to our friends, family, classmates, co-workers, and even strangers. By God’s grace, if we are able to make a positive influence in people’s lives, then we will be able to participate in God’s work of transformation.

In order for us to grow in leadership, then we have to keep practicing, testing, and developing our skills. As God has given me relationships and connections with various people, I am committed to helping them develop their leadership skills. Also, I have to keep in mind that it is not only a one way exchange because there are a lot of things that I learn from the people I am training. It usually comes from their insightful questions and their hunger to learn.

I am trying to develop a thought regarding training people for leadership. The word, “laboratory” is defined as, “any place, situation, set of conditions, or the like, conducive to experimentation, investigation, observation.” It is simply, “a place for practice, observation, or testing.”

What would it be like to have a leadership laboratory where we are developing current leaders and even producing future leaders? We will probably have to create avenues where people can “practice, observe and test” their leadership skills. This might have to be another project we will have to start up soon, especially in light of wanting to raise up more leaders for future church plants.

In the meantime, I will be writing short LEADERSHIP LAB thoughts on Twitter to get the process started.

The Reality of the Relationship

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Various, Viewpoint

 

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Chuck DeGroat wrote an article in Neue Magazine. He wrote, “I’m in this relationship, and it’s been quite difficult for some time. She continually lets me down and disappoints me. There are certain things I want from the relationship, but she seems to ignore my needs. She seduces me, and then kicks me out. Then, I walk back into the relationship cautiously, and she does something to totally redeem the rift. She sometimes gives me no confidence she even knows what a relationship is about. More than once, I’ve given up on her and left. But she’s never left my heart despite my attempts to forget her. What am I going to do?”

What do you think? What should he do in his situation?

Any sane person would say, “Dude, just leave her! What the heck is your problem? She is not worth it! There are better girls out there for you.”

But what if DeGroat was not talking about a boy-girl relationship but about the Church?

That changes everything.

Please re-read what he wrote, but now in the context of his relationship with the Church.

This describes a lot of people in our generation. Whether we have been hurt by the Church (actions of other members or leaders) or we are just disillusioned by the frailty of the people who lead the church, what should a person do when they are conflicted with the love-hate relationship they have with the Church?

We will never know how we view the Church unless something happens. So often instead of focusing on Jesus, who is the Head of the Church (Eph 5:23), we put the focus on people and ourselves. When we think the Church is all about us, then we will be disappointed because it is not about you. When the focus we put on a pastor or a leader overshadows the focus that should be on Christ, who is the Author and the Perfecter of our faith (Heb 12:2), then we will be disappointed. This is why when people do something that hurts us or something that we don’t like, our whole world gets rocked.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I do believe that leaders are judged according to a higher standard (Jas 3:1), therefore it is their responsibility to live their lives above reproach. But the reality is that there is no one who is perfect except for Jesus Christ. Therefore, if we put leaders or pastors as the ultimate example then we will get disappointed – NO MATTER WHAT.

Whenever we get critical of the Church, the first thing we should do is look in the mirror. If the Church is not a building or a place that we just go to, but rather it is a made up of people, then we have to conclude that the Church here on this earth will always be imperfect. In fact, I have said it many times before, but if you find a perfect church please do not join it because you will ruin it.

The Church will always disappoint. It will always make mistakes. It will always be hypocritical. It will always be flawed. It will not always meet you needs.

Then why should I be a part of a church and even commit to it?

Well, let me allow God’s Word to explain:

“… Just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (Eph 5:25-27 NIV).

Maybe this translation will help you to visualize it more:

“Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness” (The Message).

Some Random Reflections 3.28.10

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint

 
With the world of micro-blogging (a.k.a Twitter), it has been harder to write some of my thoughts down on my blog. Some people have said it is harder to write your thoughts with only 140 characters, but for some reason I find it easier. Maybe the thoughts are not as deep or profound, but it is definitely faster and more frequent.

But today, for some reason right after church, I got this strong urge to write down some random thoughts and reflections. So here are some thoughts on various things:

1) It is natural to live life with a works-based mentality, but to live in grace is out-of-this world. The Gospel is harder to grasp than one would like to admit. Maybe this is why there are so many people who “know” it in their heads, but it is hard to find people who really “know” it in their hearts. Now that is a whole different story. Ever since we were young, we have been conditioned with a works-based system. When we do good things, we are rewarded positively. When we do bad things, we are negatively punished. This carries over to our relationship with God. Therefore, when we do something good, we expect God to “do” something for us (reward us). In the same way, when we mess up we expect to receive His wrath or lose favor with Him. Maybe this is why whenever we experience grace and mercy, we are floored. Judgment, punishment and discipline are always expected, but grace has a way of surprising us – astonishing, astounding, and amazing.

2) Baptism is truly one of the best moments in a pastor’s yearly schedule.
As we are getting ready for our baptism service on Easter, I am just humbled at how God works in the lives of people. It is always at baptism, when I am reminded that God really is in the business of transformation. The best part is that God has given us the privilege of partnering with Him in helping people experience His love. Whether it is through the LIFE Group ministry, the sermons, the various gatherings or the personal counseling times, it is amazing how a person comes to a point where they want to publicly profess their trust in Christ. All the hardships and headaches of being a pastor seems to melt away, as I am reminded that it is truly worth it.

3) Life change happens best not in the context of the masses but rather during the one-on-one moments. As a preacher, the temptation is to believe that the more people I can influence through one sermon at one moment, the more impact I will make. But the reality is that it might take a lot of sermons and also, only a small handful of people might be impacted through my preaching. Recently, I have been reminded (again) that it is through a shared meal or even conversation over coffee where the most impact might be made. It demonstrates to people that they matter to God and it helps people to get to know the “real” you instead of the up-on-the-stage preacher. It is during these informal meetings where I can share a lot of my stories that relate to what the individual is going through. This makes things personal. It is also where I can get to know my sheep – hear their concerns, fears, anxieties, visions and dreams.

4) Time goes by so quickly. I am finding myself trying to slow down time. Not only because there is so much to do, but most of all because I see things moving so quickly. With the 3.5 months left here in Indonesia, I want it to extend for another 3 years. I see my kids growing up so quickly. Josiah is getting taller than Christina and it will be in a short time where he will exceed me in height. There are things that I want to do but I am not sure if there is enough time to either start or to finish. It is a fresh reminder that we need to prioritize every single day. We might not accomplish everything that we want to do but it is crucial that we do everything that we are called to do for that day.

5) God is the one that opens and closes doors. It is easy to think that due to our efforts things happen. But we can never forget that it is really the Lord that opens and closes doors. With this understanding, there is a certain level of responsibility that we need to embrace. First, when God opens a door, we need the faith to go through it. Sometimes we are too focused on ourselves (i.e. time, security, comfort, etc) that we delay in responding to God in obedience. In fact, there are times when we miss opportunities all together because of our unwillingness to go through open doors. Secondly, when God closes a door, we have to trust that God has something better. Closed doors are not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes God closes a door to protect us. He even uses closed doors to lead us in a different direction. This is why the Christian journey is a lot about trust and having faith in a Sovereign God.

How Do You Help People to Change?

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint

 

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Someone recently asked me, “Pastor Seth, do you enjoy counseling people?” I responded in a very un-pastoral way by saying, “No, I hate it. In fact, it drains me.” I think they were taken a back from my response, so they followed up with another comment (more like a comment and then a question). This person said, “Well, you are good at it; so how can a person who is good at something hate it so much?”

I think I added to this person’s frustration by saying, “Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you enjoy it.” I was thinking about a lot of things that a person can be good at, but then they do not enjoy doing it. Just take sewing for example. I am pretty good at it (because of my home economics class in 8th grade), but I don’t jump up and down in excitement when I have to tailor something. I’m pretty good at taking out the garbage (so I like to convince Christina with), but I am not passionate about it.

From this conversation, it got me thinking.

I guess a person can enjoy counseling people because of the role that they are able to play in another person’s steps towards transformation. But what is really involved in helping people change?

After all these years of ministry, I am coming to the conclusion that we cannot change anybody. I think I have given up on trying to change people some years ago. I don’t know how many people that I have tried to “help” but instead of seeing change in their lives, they have gotten worst. I am resolved and surrendered to the fact that only the Spirit of God can change people.

This is why when I go into a “counseling” session, I go in there prayed up because it will not be my persuasive words that will help people, but it will what the Spirit does through me.

Usually in my counseling sessions, I try to help illuminate inconsistencies in the person’s thinking. A lot of the problems and issues in a person’s life are connected to faulty unbiblical thinking. The person has a choice to either re-frame their thinking so that it will be congruent with God’s Word or continue to hold on to what is natural for them.

By the end of the counseling time, if the person can take steps of faith to renew their mind with God’s truth, then they are headed in the right direction. If the person can have hope that God can transform them, then they will have greater trust in God’s power. Ultimately, it will be God’s grace that will assist them in living in the truth. This is the reason why we have to trust that God loves His people more than anyone else will and that God is more than able about bringing change in a person’s life than anyone else can. This is why we confidently pray to the God that can bring change and transformation to a person’s life.

Reflections from Singapore 3.22.10

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint, Visits

 
I think adjusting from my time in the States and trying to engage with what was happening in S.E. Asia was not as easy as I thought. The change in time zone and the long trans-Pacific flight made the adjustment hard, but there was no time for rest as I had back to back meetings. I had less than 30 hours in Singapore, but it was a fruitful trip.

It is always encouraging to see the HMCC alumni. When I see them, I am reminded of the importance of the investment that we need to continue to make when they are studying in the States.

I also met up with some of the people who are interested in the church plant. I am realizing that there is a greater hunger for biblical community. There are many churches in Singapore that do an awesome job with their Sunday Celebrations. But one comment I keep on hearing over and over is the great need for the churches in Singapore to strengthen the small group ministries and even put a greater emphasis on what happens outside of Sunday.

It is my hope and prayer that we will be able to fill that void and display what biblical community can be like in the future.

The meeting with the core group for the HMCC of Singapore church plant went well. I am just laying down the foundation and trying to put the emphasis on what it is that God wants to do in this great city. We have been covering some basic themes in the Book of Acts. So far, I have talked about the paradigm of house churches as we look into the New Testament and also about the work of the Holy Spirit in the early church. Recently, I talked about the Acts 2:42-27 and the importance of biblical community. This passage has been the foundational passage for HMCC.

Some of the key members and I have talked about the spiritual warfare that they have been experiencing. I told them that this is normal because Satan knows that having a church that is focused on building God’s Kingdom and a passion for transformation will not help his cause, therefore Satan will do anything and everything to hinder God’s work. What we need more than anything else is prayer and God’s Word to strengthen us (Eph 6:10-20).

Here are some lessons that I was reminded with in my time at Singapore:

1) Doing things in an unconventional way will require a lot of explanation and patience.
2) We should never grow tired of building up the Church of Jesus Christ because it really is the only organization that will transform the world.
3) A lot of what we want to see happen on the international level will be determined by what our international students experience in the HMCC churches back in the States.
4) Without ownership and sacrifice, we will never be able to see great things happen.
5) Whenever we try to do God’s will, there will always be opposition from the evil one, therefore we should expect it and be more proactive in prayer.
6) God always humbles us and reminds us that it is not our planning and strategizing that will bring transformation, but it is His Spirit.
7) We need to have more people linked up together in prayer for what God wants to do in Singapore.

Reflections from Chicago 3.18.10

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint, Visits

 
Chicago is definitely a home away from home. I have lived in Chicago for close to 22 years before I moved out to Ann Arbor. It always brings back good memories of my younger years. This is why having a HMCC church in Chicago is encouraging to me.

I was blessed to see the growth in HMCC of Chicago. As soon as I walked in and we started to worship, I could sense that the spirituality that we have been so resolutely building was evident in the room. It is uplifting to know that no matter what HMCC church you attend that the key emphasis of worship is consistently evident.

As both sites came together for Sunday Celebration, I felt the unity within the group. Even though the NU and the UIC are different campuses, the mission of reaching college students who will transform the world brought us together. It was good to also see a growing single adult presence. With more people working in downtown Chicago, the necessity of reaching out to this population is growing.

This is part of the greater vision of reaching campuses, cities, countries and continents for Christ.

Last November, I only had a total of 14 hours in Chicago therefore my time with people was short. This time I decided to extend my trip to Chicago by a few days so that I can meet up with various people. It was encouraging to meet up with some of my pastor friends that I have known for close to 27 years. I also met up with various people at HMCC of Chicago. It is always good to just reconnect. I did a lot of listening.

But most of all, I was able to spend some quality time with my parents. Every time I see them, I am reminded of the cost there is in following Jesus. As they are getting older, I have to believe with greater faith that God will take care of them better than I will ever be able to on this earth. I was inspired to see my mom still going strong with her line dancing (did I tell you that she is 71 years old) and my dad, who is 73 learning how to do e-mail and keeping up with the latest tech stuff.

Here are some lessons that I was reminded with in my time at Chicago:

1) Getting passed the “church plant” stage and entering into the “building stage” always requires making hard choices.
2) The vision and mission should always be the main reason why a person commits to a church because so many things change over the years – that includes people, structure, methods, etc.
3) The harvest is great in the city, therefore we have to equip and train up people to reach out to their mission field.
4) Always be growing and learning because it is easy to grow stagnant.
5) Friendships that pass the test of time are the friendships that you really want to hold on to because they are good anchors.
6) Since you don’t know how long your loved ones will be with you, make every single day or opportunity count.
7) Chicago is still one of the best places for good food.

Reflections from Ann Arbor 3.15.10

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint, Visits

 
When I arrived in Ann Arbor, I shared with some people that I experienced something that I never felt before. Back in November, when I first landed in Ann Arbor, I felt as if I came back “home.” It was a great feeling. But for some reason, this time around, when we were driving to Ann Arbor from the airport, it felt so surreal. I didn’t know where I was. It felt a bit different.

By being away from Ann Arbor for close to 8.5 month, I realized that I was in between cultures – America and Indonesia. Now, I am getting a little glimpse of what it feels like for those people who are 3rd culture.

Even though my time in Ann Arbor was packed with meetings, it was very refreshing and reinvigorating for me. I met up with various groups of people that are integral to the transition when I return back to the States in July.

I met up with the international students in our church. It was awesome to see all that God was doing with the international students. I shared about the important role that the international students will play in the overall global vision as many of them will return to their country.

It was also good meeting up with the new Executive Team. I am looking forward to partnering with this team to labor for God’s Kingdom.

Overall, my trip to Ann Arbor was a reminder of why we do what we do. It really is the place where we have to keep on making the investment in lives. It is our Antioch (Ac 13:1; 14:26-28) and we need to continue to raise up more people in order to send them out to the nations.

Here are some lessons that I was reminded with in my time at Ann Arbor:

1) God never “needs” us and you realize this when things happen without you.
2) Past successes are no guarantee for future fruitfulness.
3) We must never get comfort.
4) Since God loves His Church, He will always raise up the right people for the right reasons.
5) Never take people for granted, especially those people who have been with you for a long time.
6) You know right away the people you have influenced and the people who still want your influence.
7) Do everything as if it is your first time and your last time.

After this trip to Ann Arbor, I am more focused and resolved for the things that need to happen on my return in July. This might be HMCC 2.0 – growing, evolving, expanding, and transforming.

Reflections from Austin 3.14.10

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various, Viewpoint, Visits

 
In my last two trips to the States, Austin has always been my first stop for ministry. I really enjoyed my time down there, not only because the weather is warmer and the food is incredible, but more importantly because I am able to reconnect with Pastor Ben and his family.

Pastor Ben was in Ann Arbor back in 1996, as a graduate student when HMCC of Ann Arbor first got started. It is hard to believe that we have a long 13+ year history together. It is a joy just to see how God has developed him as a husband, father, and pastor.

I have been privileged to see HMCC of Austin first get planted back in 2008. Then with various visits along the way, I have seen the development of the church. After this trip, I can confidently say that God is doing some great things down in Austin. I was able to meet some people who recently came to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Also, I had lunch with a couple of people who were asked to be part of their leadership team for next year. Whenever you are able to raise up your own leaders, it is a sign of health.

Even though, things have not gone according to our timetable, I definitely see God at work and bringing forth His plan to fruition.

Here are some lessons that I was reminded with in my time at Austin:

1) God loves His church more than we could ever love it in our lifetime.
2) God teaches us how to depend on Him by not working according to our timetable.
3) God reminds us that it is not about us, but more about His glory and honor.
4) We cannot try to force things, but rather we have to trust in God for the results.
5) The signs of health in a church are: people coming to Christ, leaders are being raised up, and people are passionate about sharing the Gospel.
6) Humility and teachability are important traits of a disciple.
7) Texas has the best beef briskets in the world!

I am excited to see all that God is going to do in the weeks, months and years to come. Already there are clear signs that God is doing some great things. The best is yet to come in Austin.

Back and Forth Travels

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various, Viewpoint

 

Photo on neonlite.ca
 
 
 
It has already been two days so far here in the United States and I feel like I have been here for a week. I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing, but all I know is that my heart is more convinced that we need to stay true to our vision and mission.

The first thing that I experienced when I landed in Ann Arbor was this acute feeling that things were different. In my first trip back to the States in November 2009, there was this overwhelming feeling of being “back home.” In fact, it was a great feeling. But this time around, things felt so surreal and a bit confusing for me. Maybe it was the repercussions of being out of the country for 8 months. I am not sure. But it was definitely a new experience for me.

So far, on Monday I have met up with the Ann Arbor pastors, the new Jakarta Team, and hung out with Pastor Andrew and his family. Then on Tuesday morning I flew out to Austin. I spent some time with Pastor Ben and his family. In the evening we had a prayer gathering for HMCC of Austin, where I shared God’s heart for what He is doing around the world and what we sensed that God wanted to do in Austin. It was a good time of prayer.

I also met some new faces. I was encouraged to meet people who came to know the Lord this year, as well as people who received Christ last year. I had some great conversations with some of the first members of the church back in 2008. God is truly faithful.

Then I ended up talking to one of the leaders until the wee hours of the night (hence this 4AM post).

We still have a full schedule for the next few days here in Austin and then I will be heading back to HMCC of Ann Arbor to minister on the weekend. Then next week, it is off to visit HMCC of Chicago.

Thanks for praying. God is definitely giving me the strength.

Due to my packed schedule, I am trying to microblog more via Twitter, which then goes directly to Facebook. If you want to keep up with what is happening here in the States, you can follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

More to come…

Trip Back to the States Part 2

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various, Visits

 
Time has flown by so quickly. It just seems like yesterday that I was heading back to the States to make my first visit to all the HMCC churches. But for some reason, this time around it definitely feels different.

The first time back to the States in November 2009, I went with a different mentality. I think I went with some trepidation wondering how the church was transitioning without me being there. But to my delight, the church was strong and growing; and the other churches were also experiencing God’s blessings.

I am so proud of our guys. They did not just try to “survive” but instead they determined to thrive in the midst of all the transitions. We have seen many new people give their lives to Christ; and we have seen the spiritual foundations of the members strengthened.

On this trip there are 4 clear goals for me:

1) Recast the vision of the house
2) Reconnect with people
3) Ready the people for the transition back
4) Reveal the 2020 vision

I have vowed not to make this second trip as crazy as the first one, where I was going back to back with non-stop meetings, but as I am looking at my schedule, it is not going to happen. It is just too hard with the limited time that I have in each of the churches. Therefore, I am asking for extra prayer and a lot of espressos!

God is doing some great things all over the world. God is moving and we want to be in step with Him. I am excited to come and visit for 2 weeks. I can’t wait to share all that God is doing in Indonesia and even Singapore!

Leadership Lesson: The Leader is the Thermostat

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint

 

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George Barna in his book, Evangelism that Works, wrote,

“It occurred to me that in our work with secular organizations, the leader shapes the heart and passion of the corporate entity. In our work with non-profit organizations, we have found the same principle to be operative. When it comes to the focus of the organization, the people who serve there tend to take on many of the core personality traits of the leader toward fulfilling the mandate of the organization. If this is true, and most churches seem to lack the fervor and focus for evangelism, is it reasonable to conclude that it may be because of the lack of zeal most pastors have for identifying, befriending, loving and evangelizing non-Christian people?”

 
 
This is a good reminder, as well as a good challenge.

In HMCC the spiritual fervor for evangelism is set by me because God has called me to lead our church. The small group leaders set the temperature for evangelism because they are leading LIFE Groups. The committed people set the tone for evangelism because they are reaching out to the newcomers in our church.

There is no magic bullet when it comes to raising the spiritual fervor for evangelism.

Over the years, I have learned that it really does come down to the leaders. As one leadership guru once said, “Everything rises and falls with leadership.”

This puts a greater responsibility on the leaders to know the heart of God by spending time with Him; and also, we have to get our hearts lit up by God’s zeal for lost people. Doing a lot of good “programs” or setting up various activities alone will not work.

This fire for the lost comes from prayer.

We always know what people are passionate about just from their prayers.

“Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession” (Ps 2:8).

Why I Will Continue to Reach Out to College Students

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint, Vision

 

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In the recent news of California’s $1 billion budget cuts to their state’s university system, it triggered protests by students in various California school, from Berkeley to UC-Davis. This then set off more protests in other universities and colleges nationwide. As updates are coming out, I am reading about some demonstrations turning chaotic and even dangerous.

You can read up on some of most recent updates as of March 5th 12:20AM EST) here.

When you look throughout history, you will notice that many revolutions have been started by students. It is during this stage of life where people are driven by ideals; and they are fearless in seeing those dreams become a reality. They haven’t reached the stage of life where the longing for security, success, and significance drive most of their decisions.

As I was reading up on the California situation, I couldn’t help but to think about the potential that college students have to bring forth global transformation. With their idealism, passion, courage and their willingness to take risks, they can be a powerful force for good.

What it would be like if we raised up a generation of college students with a vision to bring the reality of God’s Kingdom to every campus, city, country and continent?

It starts with one transformed life at a time. As students experience the power of the Gospel, they will inevitably want to bring the Gospel to the ends of the earth. I am just amazed that I have the privilege of playing a part in the process.

The Hunt

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various, Viewpoint

 
I find it interesting that the Apostle Peter used the metaphor of a lion waiting for its prey to describe how Satan waits around for Christ-followers to devour. In 1 Peter 5:8 it says, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” The Message Bible translation says, “The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping.”

What a great imagery.

Satan is methodical. Satan is patient. Satan knows our vulnerabilities and weaknesses. Satan has good timing.

This video gave me a fresh perspective on the battle that is constantly before us. Satan waits until we are “napping” spiritually. This is the reason why in the sentence before the Apostle Peter said, “Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil” (1 Peter 5:8, NLT).

We need to stay focused and alert in order to know when Satan is trying to attack. The hunt and the attack are inevitable, but our response is sometimes questionable. This is why we need to look to the One who is in us. The One who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world (1 Jn 4:4).
 
 

Lessons from Singapore

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Various, Viewpoint

 
I headed out to Singapore this past Sunday through Monday to meet up with the group of people who are the core group of the new church plant that we want to launch soon. Even though our time is short, I try to lay down the foundation of this church plant by studying the Bible together and also praying together. We also try to build relationships with one another as we fellowship with food. It was encouraging to see some pre-Christians who came out to the gathering because of the relationships that our HMCC alumni have been building.

After our gathering, we all decided to head out to Chinatown and have some good Chinese food. To our surprise, they had a lot of different activities and events going on due to the height of the Chinese New Year. We saw everything from a motor vehicle float presentation to a traditional Chinese dragon dance.

As I was taking in the sights and sounds, one of our alumni gave me a quick Chinese History 101. He explained why the Chinese do some of the traditions and gave further insights to the mentality of the Singaporean Chinese.

I am just amazed how our experiences and our history determine how we behave today. One thing I have noticed very clearly is that in the Asian culture a lot of things are about prosperity, success, safety, and wealth. All too often, these facets are linked together.

In order for Asian people to really live out the Gospel, we might have to abandon certain mindsets that have been ingrained in us through various cultural traditions and expectations; or shall I say, we will have to “redeem” them for Christ.
 
 
 

 
This is the Dragon Dance where he throws out things to the crowd for prosperity
 
 
 

 
A Singaporean dish called Yu-Sheng, where everyone mixes the food together and wishes each other prosperity and good fortunes
 
 
 

 
The largest Buddhist Temple in Singapore where people go to ask for good fortunes and prosperity