New Year Resolutions & GOALS

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Various
Photo Credit: Unsplash

The end of a year is a great time to reflect on God’s faithfulness. It is also an opportunity to look ahead to the new year. When we think about making new year’s resolutions, it can cause a lot of disillusionment and frustration. Especially, as we think about this past year’s resolution and our shortcomings. Even though I find myself failing on many of my new year’s resolutions, I still make them because it gives me a sense of purpose as I think about my passions and my desire for growth.

One thing that I have done for many years is to spend some time in reflection and then write down some clear goals for the new year. Hopefully, some of the things that I’ve implemented in my life to help me to achieve my goals can be helpful to you as you think about 2019.

Before I write down anything, I spend some time in prayer and reflection. This helps me to see the different ways in which God has worked in my life this past year. It also gives me revelation for the new year. It is important that we do not try to make our resolutions based on our own wisdom or strength. God has to lead us and reveal things in our lives so that we can align ourselves with His purposes for the upcoming year.

After some time in reflection and prayer, I simply use the acronym GOALS to help me come up with practical resolutions and strategies to achieve my resolutions for the new year. The GOALS acronym is:

  1. G – GROWTH-MINDSET. We have to remember that whatever resolutions or goals that you make for the new year, it has to be related to some aspect of growth. It should entail the different aspects of our personhood – spiritual, relational, physical, mental, emotional, etc. When our goals are connected to growth, it will keep us motivated throughout the year. We never want to be static or get complacent, but we want to keep on growing as a person so that we can, by God’s grace, be a better version of ourselves from last year. Just make sure that your goals are at a reasonable number. Usually having about 5-6 goals for the year is appropriate. If we have more, then there is a possibility of losing focus and feeling overwhelmed within the first month of the new year.
  2. O – OBSERVABLE. It is important to make the goals with clear measurable traits. There is power in seeing gradual movement towards our desired goal. Therefore, it is critical that we write out our goals and try to mark off the small steps of progress. One thing that I use is the SMS of goals: Specific, Measurable, and Set-time. These three things help me to come up with clear goals and to stay focused. For example, if you want to grow spiritually by reading God’s Word, then following a set daily (specific) reading plan (measurable) for the year (set-time) will help you to reach your goal.
  3. A – ATTAINABLE. Don’t make goals that are too far-fetched or you will get discouraged and then give up. The goals should stretch us, but it should be within reach with some dedication and discipline. Some of us are too idealistic, therefore, it might help to bounce off our goals with some seasoned people and get some perspective. I have found myself readjusting my goals many times with a mid-year check-up. It is helpful to use the previous year as a gauge. If some of our goals were not met, figure out if it was due to being unrealistic. Then just make sure that this year you account for the shortcoming. If your last year’s goals were easy to attain, then stretch yourself a bit so that you can keep growing.
  4. L – LIST. Psychologically, when we are able to check off things on a list, it helps us to keep motivated because we see the progress that we are making. As you write out your goals, try to keep either a journal or use some app which can help you to check off an accomplished task. This year I committed to doing 40,000 push-ups. I divided the 40,000 push-ups into 365 days and it came out to roughly doing 110 push-ups a day. Then I put it on a checklist on my Google Keep. Whenever I finished a day of 110 push-ups, I would just mark it off on my list. This helped me to see how far I have come, as well as how much further I needed to go. It was a good motivator. With a few more days left of 2018, I know exactly how many more push-ups I need to do in order to achieve my goal (please pray for me… haha). Also, when we have a list, it is a good way to review our goals throughout the year and come up with a better strategy for achieving those goals. When I looked at my push-up goals in different parts of the year, I realized that I needed to increase my 110 daily push-ups because I fell behind. Don’t forget to review your list at least weekly so that you stay on target.
  5. S – SUPPORT. There is research that shows both the benefits and the negative aspects of sharing your goals with others. Regardless of what you believe in, I think the key is to share your goals with the “right” people. When we have a good support system, as well as accountability, then we are more likely to achieve our goals. The reason why we stay motivated in accomplishing our goals is because we know that we have to give an account to people who care for us. They are also there to cheer us on, especially knowing that some of the goals might not be easy. Find a few trusted friends who can check up on you. Also, make sure that they are able to be firm and confront you if you are getting lazy or apathetic. By having a good support system, it helps to remind you of why you made the goals in the first place. Don’t go through it alone.

I hope these five aspects of the GOALS acronym will help you get started in a successful and fruitful new year. For those of you who attend HMCC-HK, I want to stress the importance of doing the BRP (Bible Reading Plan) that we have in our church. It is a 2-year Bible Reading Plan. All the goals that we set for the new year will be futile if they are just focused on ourselves. I pray that we will commit to doing the BRP so that as we grow spiritually, we can be a blessing to others around us.

By God’s grace, let’s make 2019 a great year as we live out God’s purpose for us!

“It’s Never Too Late” – HMCC-HK 2018 Baptism

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Victories, Viewpoint

 

 

It was an emotional baptism. The stories of transformation were powerful. I left the baptism celebration with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. The realization that this was our 8th baptism celebration in our short 3.5 year history as a church reminded me that it is truly the work of God to take a person from darkness into His marvelous light. God helped me to remember that everything that I do as a pastor is worth it because of these moments. I have the privilege of being a part of people’s lives, whether directly or indirectly, and witnessing first-hand what the Gospel can do to a person’s life once they understand the grace and the love of God.

I wouldn’t trade this for the world. There is nothing that can be more fulfilling or satisfying on this side of eternity.

This baptism celebration was extra special because I had the honor of baptizing a father who started to come out to our church because of his son, who attended our single-adult ministry. As he shared his testimony, it moved the hearts of everyone in the room. I think when we come to know the Lord later in life, there is a greater understanding and weightiness to the power of the Gospel.

There were two things that struck me the most from his testimony. The first thing was his humility and his awareness of his own fragility. I am more convinced that as we get older we are more aware of our sinfulness and we gain a greater perspective on things. Life, with all its up’s and down’s, has a way of bringing things into greater focus. The older we get, the more pain, sorrow, and loss we experience. He touched upon all of this in his testimony. The second thing that stuck out for me is when he said, “I wish I could have known Christ earlier, but IT’S NEVER TOO LATE.”

The last phrase hit something in my heart.

It brought me way back to the late ’90s when our church back in Ann Arbor sent a missions project team to Peru. We were serving in an orphanage located in a very mountainous and remote area. We met an incredible lady who was in her 60’s. She loved the kids and had such a beautiful heart. As we were leaving she stopped the bus because she wanted to say her last goodbyes and give us another word of encouragement. She said, “When I see so many of you young people loving and serving Jesus, it makes me wish I knew Christ earlier (she came to know Christ in her 40’s). But I am thankful that Christ saved me and it’s never too late.”

For some reason, those words, “It’s never too late,” just struck me because she gave us some much-needed perspective. She was reminding us that since we came to know Christ at a younger age, we will have a longer time to serve and love God. I think it is easy for many young people to take things for granted, especially their salvation.

This is the reason why I was so moved at the baptism testimony by this father. Not only did it remind me of my experience in Peru, but it triggered a sense of hope. There are many members in our church who have parents that are not believers, yet. Therefore, hearing a testimony by this father stirred people’s heart to pray and have faith that God can transform anyone. Whether God will work now or in 10 years, all we can do is to pray and trust that God’s will will be done.

I am more convinced than ever before that God can transform anyone, regardless of background or even age. God has transformed many people in the past and He will continue to do so today. It is just humbling that I get a front row seat and get to witness all this. To God be all the glory!

UK Missions Project 2018

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint, Vision, Visits

 

This coming December, during the Christmas holiday, a small team of fluent Mandarin speakers in HMCC-HK and I will be heading out to the United Kingdom to participate in God’s mission. I have been invited as a guest speaker for the youth program at a family camp for Chinese people, who either immigrated to the UK or are expatriated in the UK due to college or temporary employment. After this family camp, we will stick around for an extra four days to help lead another camp, but this time it will be with the Mandarin-speaking university students who are attending schools, such as Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial College, King’s College, etc. Many of them do not know Christ, therefore, we will have the wonderful opportunity to share the Gospel with students who are searching for meaning and purpose in their lives.

There are close to 2.5 million Chinese people living in the 24 different countries in Europe. Out of the 2.5 million Chinese expatriates, a high percentage of them reside in the UK, France, and Germany. This is quite a harvest field and the need for the Gospel is enormous. One thing that I am constantly trying to do is to connect the dots with the HMCC-HK’s BOLD Vision and The Circle and with what God is doing all over the world.

I realized that if we can get introduced to the mission field in Europe via the UK, then we will be able to reach out to many of the expatriated Chinese in Europe, who might eventually find their way back to China in the future. Then, as we continue to focus on making disciples in global Chinese cities with reputable universities, we will be able to connect these students with a future HMCC church in China. Through a church planting movement all throughout China, we can then participate in advancing God’s kingdom in our generation for God’s glory.

The team and I will be joining many other Chinese churches from different parts of the world to partner together in order to reach this harvest field. Therefore, please keep our missions project and the team (below) in prayer. We were surprised to see that everyone came to take the missions picture wearing blue without us even mentioning anything. This is when we knew that we were one in spirit and that this was going to be a great missions project.