Chile Missions 2010 Update 2

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various, Visits

 
Believe it or not, it has been hard to find internet connection. The host family that Josiah and I are staying with only has a land line (reminds me of the noise the computer would make in order to connect back in the day) because they are out near the beautiful mountains. Also, Constitucion is trying to recover from the earthquake and tsunami; therefore trying to find a good internet has been hard. But I´m still finding different ways to communicate with those of you who are praying for us.

I don´t have too much time to share what has been happening in the last 2 days, so I will share more in detail, along with pictures in the days to come.

But just as a way of overview, there are 3 things we are learning and experiencing:

1) There are no barriers with Christ´s love. It is incredible to see how we have been able to communicate and work together with the church members of Pueblo de Dios, even though our team does not speak Spanish that well and their members do not speak English very well, we have been able to speak Christ´s love to one another. In spite of the barriers, we have bonded in an incredible way. This is what the love of Christ can do. It has been awesome working shoulder to shoulder to bring the Gospel to people who are hurting and in need of hope. Transculturalism is coming alive and finally making sense in a deeper way for all of us.

2) The need is great. Everywhere we went, we met people who were in need. It is humbling to think that there are basic things that people do not have due to the tragedy. It makes it that much more imperative that we share, the not only the Gospel for their spiritual needs, but material things for their physical needs as well.

3) The Church is really the hope of the world. There are many organizations that have come to ¨serve¨ the people within the first 2 months after the earthquake and tsunami; but it is the church that is still going to the affected area to share the love of Christ. Where would the world be without the Church? As people are hearing the Gospel, they are understanding that Christ can take their mourning and turn it into dancing. Our God is a God of redemption.

We are a bit sad that we cannot usher in the new year with our family and friends back in the States; but for some reason, we are finding a great sense of joy knowing that we are at the right place at the right time in Chile. We will bring in the new year spending time together as a team… it should be interesting as we explore this great city. Thanks for praying for us.

Chile Missions 2010 Update 1

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various, Visits

 
The long awaited mission trip to Chile finally came and the team and I are thankful for the opportunity to be used for God’s glory. It was encouraging to see the people who came out to the send-off at the T-Center. I am constantly reminded that when a church sends a team on the mission field, they are never going alone; but rather, they have a whole community of people going with them. This is why I am such an advocate of people going on missions trips with a church, if it is possible.

The best part of this trip is being able to go with Josiah, my oldest son, who is 13 years old. Christina and I have decided that there will be several milestones for our kids before they go off to college. The first one is the famous “sex talk” with our kids when they turn double digits (10 years old). Another one is when they turn 13 years old, we want to send them with one of us on a missions trip. It is too easy to grow up in the States and become spoiled with all the blessing, both materially and spiritually. We want our kids to experience a world outside the comforts of America. As they see the various needs and opportunities of sharing God’s love, we are praying that our kids will gain a bigger heart for God, His people and the nations.

So far it has been a tremendous blessing to just hang out with Josiah. By being in a different context, we are learning a lot about one another. Also, we have been trying to help each other on this trip. He has been able to use some of the Spanish that he learned at school; and I have been fumbling through all the phrases I learned through the past missions trip to Latin America. But all in all, it has been a great joy to build up my relationship with Josiah. I am truly blessed to have a son who is growing up to learn how to love God and people, and to play a part in the process is an incredible blessing.

The team (made up of post-college people) is doing well. We are currently making the last minute preparations before we head out to Constitucion. This was the area that was affected by the earthquake and the tsunami back in February 27th of this year. We cannot wait to bring the hope of Jesus Christ. The best part of all this is that the church that we are working with are planning on starting a church in this area. They have been building relationships with the people in the community; and now the hearts of the people in Constitucion are receptive. We are not going alone to minister but we will be partnering up with a group of people from the church to share the love of Christ shoulder to shoulder. Honestly, we will be the ones learning the most from the nationals – and this is how it should be.

We can’t wait for the great testimonies that will come forth from this trip. Then we will come back to Santiago for the weekend ministries.

I will try to video blog some parts of the trip so that you can get a glimpse of what is happening here. Thanks for the partnership in the Gospel.

SGP & JKT 2010 Update 7

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various, Viewpoint, Visits

 

Photo on forumpakistan.com
 
 
 
The more I travel out to Asia, the more I feel mixed emotions as I head back to the States. It is just humbling to see all that God is doing in this part of the world. I wonder if the amount of hunger and the openness to the Spirit can be matched in the United States. We are living in incredible times, where God is pouring out His Spirit in the hearts of His people this region.

There is a part of me that wants to be in Asia so that I can be a part of everything that God is doing. But then, I know that for now, God is calling me to raise up and train people in the States to be equipped to make disciples of all nations. In fact, I think my role will continue to evolve in the next 5-10 years. As things are getting more global, I don’t know if I will have one specific location where I will do my entire ministry.

God is graciously opening many doors for me to touch people lives with the Gospel in different countries and cultures. Wherever there is a need and whenever God opens up a door, I want to be faithful in obeying the Great Commission.

As I reflect on this trip, I am thankful that I had the privilege to witness so many great things. There are several things that God reminded me of on this trip (again):

1) There is no greater joy than to see someone come to make a decision to be a Christ-follower for the first time. This is something that I will continue to give my life to. It is priceless.

2) God’s love for His people is greater than my love for people. When my heart breaks for people, I am reminded that it is only a fraction of the love that God has for His people.

3) The Church is the only organization that can transform the world. With all its imperfections and weaknesses (because the Church is made up of sinful people), I still strongly believe that it is an avenue for people to experience life transformation.

4) The generosity of God’s people continues to amaze me. When people’s lives are touched by God, they will naturally overflow with a desire to give. They will also be more awaken to the needs around them and then meet that need with sacrifice.

5) Everything that we do has eternal significance. Sometimes we forget that the things we do, whether it is big or small, has an impact on people and for the Kingdom. This is why it is important to be faithful with everything that we are entrusted with.

 
 
As we close out the 2010, the blessings of God are too many to count. Now with 2011 around the corner, I am confident that God has greater things in store for us. God continues to amaze me with His grace.

SGP & JKT 2010 Update 6

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various, Victories, Visits

 
I have always been a firm believer in the importance of “the first” of anything. Not only it is an opportunity to make history, but it is an avenue to set a pattern for future things. HMCC of Singapore had their first retreat this weekend and I was privileged to be a part of it. I brought along with me a few of the worship team members from HMCC of Jakarta and we had a blast!

Even though our time together was very short, God used every single minute to minister to His people. It was an awesome time of serving God’s people with His Word, as well as just chilling together in good fellowship.

God constantly reminds me that He doesn’t need any of us, but when He does choose to use us then, we know that it is only by His grace we are able to do anything. God’s love for His people is clearly evident when He chooses to use fragile, weak, and imperfect people like us for His glory.

I am excited for all the things that God has in store for the church in Singapore. If what we experienced this past weekend is any indication for things to come in the future, then we better hold on because it is going to be one incredible ride!
 

“Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds. They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness” (Ps 145:3-7, NIV).

 
 

SGP & JKT 2010 Update 5

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Viewpoint, Vision

 
Today, I had the opportunity to have dinner with the church planting team. It was great to reconnect with everyone. The dinner conversation covered everything from some personal experiences here in Indonesia to updating on the happenings in the various HMCC churches back in the States. Other conversations I am not permitted to mention in public :-)

Then, we went to the house and I shared about the importance of loving the city that we are called to serve. We can stick around a place because of the local church, but we also need to see that God calls us to stay at a place because of our love for the people in that city. We spent the rest of the time praying for the “shalom” and the blessings of God in Karawaci, Jakarta, and all over Indonesia.

It has been encouraging to see God work powerfully in the lives of these members. I am seeing God move within their hearts, as they surrender themselves to His Sovereignty and Majesty. Since there were so many good testimonies, I thought it would be good if they shared from their own lips, as they give glory to God.

You guys are awesome! Keep up the good work.
 
 
 

SGP & JKT 2010 Update 4

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various, Viewpoint, Visits

 
It has been less than a week here in Indonesia, but every single day I have been thanking God for the privilege of being able to come back to my “2nd home.” After Sunday Celebration, I ended up talking with so many people. It was awesome reconnecting with familiar faces, as well as meeting new people, who started to come out to our church within the last 5 months.

The week has been filled with times alone with God and meeting up with people. I am more convinced than ever that “ministry is people and people are the ministry.” I think the members have poured more into me during our meetings than what I could offer. Not only were they generous and treated me to meals and coffees, but hearing their testimonies and all that God is doing in their lives, caused me to overflow with exuberance. We serve an Awesome and Mighty God. Can life get any better than this?
 
 
 

Who is Really the Transient Person?

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Various, Viewpoint

 

Photo by Getty Images
 
 
 
In the last several months, I have been in several good discussions with various people about the transient nature of college students. People have always asked me, “How can you minister to a lifestage, where after four years they leave and then, you have to start all over again?”

I guess I have always responded to this type of question with a positive perspective. Even though many people leave Ann Arbor after graduation, it is satisfying to know that they are scattered all over the world doing great things for God’s Kingdom. Also, since my personality and giftings are better suited for “training,” I get excited every September knowing that there is a whole new batch of people I get to influence and share the Gospel with.

But the more I thought about this, I realized that college students are not the most transient people, but rather it is the single adults. For a college student, there is a specific timeframe in which they are “permanent.” Whether it is four years or five years, I know with a certain level of confidence (barring academic probation) that students will be in Ann Arbor for that period of time.

The single adults on the other hand, can one day wake up and decide that they want to go to graduate school or decide that they want to move to a different city or decide to change their job. Simply put, they are not really rooted or committed to just one thing. Ah yes, the curse of having too many options.

If you go to the other end of the spectrum, you will notice that once people get married and have kids, they are usually too settled and comfortable that the thought of moving to another place is a big ordeal. They have to think about the kids’ schooling, job security, and the list goes on and on.

Therefore, the question, “Who is really the transient person?” needs to be re-examined.

As I have talked with different pastors, this is one of the major reasons why the single adult ministry is a difficult ministry. It is very fragile. You can pour resources (money, personnel, time, etc) into this stage of life, but usually many of the single adults do not stay long enough to experience deep transformation.

Now, of course there are always exceptions. But if we examine this life stage very carefully, we will have to humbly say that it is a lifestage that really centers around the pursuit of the self – the career, trying to find a marriageable partner, enjoying various gadgets that they could not purchase as a college student, entertainment systems that guarantees a heighten sensory experience, purchase of new wardrobe, a new vehicle, picking up expensive hobbies, pleasing the palate with exquisite delicacies at top restaurants, and hobnobbing with friends to exotic vacation spots. I might have missed a few things.

Are any of these things wrong? Of course not! But if they supersede our love for Christ and our passionate pursuit to live for His Kingdom, then we might have a problem. Maybe this is the reason why some of the single adults that I met have a sense of restlessness in them. Many do not have a clear purpose in their lives. They go from one thing to another – from one place to another.

Is it possible that the single adults in our generation have settled for the “lesser” things? Have they decided to go “with the flow” in society rather than “against it” when it comes to living for something greater?

Sometimes the wandering heart needs to find a home – a place where they are known in the context of biblical community. But this takes commitment. It takes a decision to stay.

Chris Tomlin’s song, “I Will Follow” has been a powerful anthem for our single adults. May this be the cry of our hearts:

Where you go, I’ll go
Where you stay, I’ll stay
When you move, I’ll move
I will follow…

All your ways are good
All your ways are sure
I will trust in you alone
Higher than my sight
High above my life
I will trust in you alone

Where you go, I’ll go
Where you stay, I’ll stay
When you move, I’ll move
I will follow you
Who you love, I’ll love
How you serve I’ll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow you
I will follow you

Light unto the world
Light unto my life
I will live for you alone
You’re the one I seek
Knowing I will find
All I need in you alone, in you alone

In you there’s life everlasting
In you there’s freedom for my soul
In you there joy, unending joy
and I will follow

Leadership Culture

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint

 

Photo by Associated Press
 
 
 
In the sports world you can learn a lot about leadership. In particular, when you look at the top leadership of a team, you get a window into the culture that is being built. I don’t know if you have noticed, but in many winning sports programs, after a successful season, many of the assistant coaches and coordinators are all courted by other teams to be their head coach.

What is the reason for this?

It is simply the fact that there is a proven track record of winning under your leadership. If a team wins a championship and it was credited to an incredible offensive scheme, then the question becomes, “who was the offensive coordinator?”

But something we forget to ask is, “who was the coach of that coach?”

This is where sports history will give us more insights. When you look at some of the greatest coaches in sports, you will begin to notice several things:
 

1) Great coaches inspire
2) Great coaches influence
3) Great coaches impart

 
A good example of these traits is Coach Dean Smith. It’s not only his number of wins, but if we look at the number of coaches that came out of his program and leadership, we will have to conclude that he possessed the leadership gift of inspiring, influencing and imparting.

This got me thinking about leadership culture. If an organization has a great leadership culture, then inevitable you will constantly lose people – sometimes some of your best people. No one wants a mediocre coach. Therefore, if a team continues to win that means that they have great leaders (coaches), which in turn will produce other great leaders (coaches) because of the leadership culture that is on that team. Then, most likely they would want to go out and lead.

It is my prayer that in our church we will train up many great leaders for God’s Kingdom. This means that we might have to release some people to do other things in other places. It also means that we have to create more space for people to be released to do new things in our church because not everyone will go to a new place.

No matter where people will be placed, as we talk about transformation, we have to stay focused in relentlessly building a leadership culture in our church.

SGP & JKT 2010 Update 3

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various, Visits

 
I am just feeling this overwhelming sense of gratitude. God’s grace can humble anyone. Even though it has only been about two days here in Southeast Asia, I am already experiencing God’s Faithfulness, not only to me but to His people. It just reminds me how much God loves His people.

If anything good comes out of our lives, it is because of His mercy and grace. We really do not deserve anything. Therefore, when we do experience good things, it is a good reminder that it is really all about Him.

It is hard to imagine that if I have been experiencing so much of God’s blessings within the last two days, then how much more God has in store in the days to come. It is truly amazing!
 
 

 
 

“How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD. I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people” (Ps 116:12-14, NIV).

“What can I give back to God for the blessings he’s poured out on me? I’ll lift high the cup of salvation – a toast to God! I’ll pray in the name of God; I’ll complete what I promised God I’d do, and I’ll do it together with his people” (The Message).

SGP & JKT 2010 Update 2

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various, Visits

 
It’s been one whole day here in Singapore and it has been awesome so far. I can’t believe I am wearing shorts in the middle of December. People here are saying that it is the raining season and a bit colder than usual, but it feels like summer to me because before I left Ann Arbor, the temperatures were in the 30’s.

I have been enjoying my time in reconnecting with people. Later today, I will be meeting up with some of the newer members in our church. With every opportunity that the Lord is giving me, I have been able to share the vision. I can’t wait for the house church meeting today. Life is awesome, abundant, and amazing – I can’t believe I get to do this for the rest of my life!
 
 

SGP & JKT 2010 Update 1

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various, Visits

 
I am closing out the 2010 year with a whirlwind of travel. Recently, I found myself complaining about being too “traveled-out.” In my early 30’s, traveling was so much easier but now, it is getting harder, not only because of the physical aspect, but because I will be away from the family.

It would have been easy for me to just focus on myself, but then I thought about all the different things that I would be able to experience on this trip. In Singapore, they will have their first mini-retreat and I will be doing a baby dedication in Jakarta. These are all firsts for both churches, therefore my heart was overwhelmed with thankfulness. Just one word came to mind: privilege.

I am blessed beyond measure and I am amazed at the faithfulness of God, not only to me but to all our churches. Thanks for all your prayers and support. I will keep you guys updated regularly throughout this trip so that you can “travel” with me on this journey. Love you guys!
 
 

2010 Advent Sermon Series

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various

 

Photo by HMCC-AA Publications Team
 
 
 
It is hard to believe that we are already in the month of December. With Christmas coming at the end of this month, we are entering into the Advent Season. Traditionally, Advent has always been a time of preparation and expectation for the celebration of Christmas, the birth of Christ. But now, with the focus on shopping due to consumerism, many people have lost sight of this important season.

In the next three Sundays we are going focus on the reason why God sent His Son. As we understand His grace and love, we will naturally respond with a transformed attitude in the way we live our lives. This is why we are calling this series simply, “The Reason.”

As God is the greatest Giver, we want to follow in His footsteps by giving ourselves to God and to others in this season. Now, as we eagerly wait for Christ’s second return, may this Christmas season give us a greater appreciation of Christ’s birth as the Messiah who came to save the world.