Celebrating 15 Years of God’s Faithfulness

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Victories, Viewpoint


Photo by HMCC-AA Publication Team
It is hard to believe that 15 years ago Christina and I moved from Chicago to Ann Arbor, Michigan to start a church on the University of Michigan campus. In 1996, we just got married and stepped out in faith to live out the dream of being a 1st century church in the 21st century. We had a passion to see lost people experience transformation through the Gospel message, to see people discipled and then to see people trained to transform the world. It was an audacious dream, but we knew God was calling us to this endeavor. With God, all things are possible!

Now, after 15 years, we have seen many people come to know Christ for the 1st time in HMCC. We have seen many people experience freedom through God’s grace. We have seen many people who are now placed in different parts of the world doing some incredible things for God’s Kingdom.

It is humbling to think that God has given us the privilege of experiencing His transformative power for the last 15 years; and for some reason, it feels as if the best is still yet to come. We are amazed and overcome with gratitude as we see the faithfulness of God.

This is why our 15th Anniversary Celebration is going to be filled with testimonies of God’s work of transformation. It is going to be all about Him and His glory. We are going to also celebrate the huge wins that God has provided for us more recently in the last 5 years.

God’s Word is always true: “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” (Jn 12:24-26).

In God’s economy, nothing is ever lost or wasted. Every investment for God will bear fruit as we seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness.

It is going to be a packed house. Remember to come early and grab a good seat.

Asia Trip Update #2 – 10.2.11

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Victories, Visits

It was an incredible time in Singapore. There were times of encouragement, equipping, empowerment, and exaltation. The baptism went well and the 1st Anniversary was a display of God’s Faithfulness. Humbled. Amazed.

I am now in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. My two days here will be filled with meetings with alumni, prayer walking, listening, dreaming, and discerning. Keep me in your prayers.

Lessons from 2011 Asia Missions Project

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Victories, Viewpoint, Visits


Photo by Ristiana Eteng
It’s been about a week since we have been back from our Asia Missions Project and my heart is still overwhelmed with all the blessings that God poured out on us. After some time of reflection, there are several things that God reaffirmed for me through this trip:

1) The power of COMMUNITY. Prior to the actual on field experience, our team shared our “Life Stories” with one another. It was a powerful way to build community because we vulnerably shared our testimonies. It gave me greater insights to the team members lives; but most of all, it gave me more compassion for each person. Then when we got to Indonesia, we shared our Life Stories with the teams from Singapore and Jakarta. It helped in bringing all of our lives together. We were amazed to hear how the power of the Gospel could transform a person’s life. As we experienced this biblical community, it enabled us to experience God’s love in a tangible way.

2) The power of the CHURCH. In the past, whenever we participated in missions, we would partner with churches that we got introduced to for the first time or with churches that we had a good relationship with; but on this trip, we partnered with HMCC-JKT, a church that we planted two years ago. This gave our missions project a difference experience. Not only was the DNA of the churches the same, but we were able to unite together instantly under the same vision and mission. I felt this strong sense of partnership with the different HMCC churches. As we worked together, I knew that we were actually building up the church in Jakarta. The partnership was very noticeable as we were able to work together with the national Indonesians who were part of HMCC-JKT. Missions should always be done in the context of the local church.

3) The power of CHRIST. We saw how the message of Jesus Christ powerfully made a difference in the lives of people that we encountered, as well as in our own lives. In the mornings we would study the Book of Ephesians together. Every morning there was something in Ephesians that reinforced the power of the Gospel through Christ’s sacrifice. Then, we would minister to the various churches through the different revival meetings and church gatherings. In every single one of the gatherings, we witnessed Jesus’ healing power come down and minister to the people. It just reminded us that we had no power on our own, but rather it was Jesus’ power flowing through us.

4) The power of CONNECTIONS. One thing we can all testify to is how God sovereignly opened up many doors for us. When we find favor with God and with people, there will always be many divine connections that are made, as well as many opportunities to share Christ. For example, we had the privilege of ministering in a Muslim village in Lampung with the blessings of the government leaders who were all Muslims. We found favor with them as we served them and that connection opened up a door for us to minister to the children of that village. It is through relational connections that God uses to spread the message of the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

There were many seeds that were planted throughout this trip. We are excited to see some of the fruits that will come forth in the months and years to come. We are praying that what God started, He will finish it to completion (Php 1:6).

Asia Update #7 – 8.2011

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various, Victories, Visits


Asia Update #6 – 7.2011

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various, Victories, Visits


Asia Update #4 – 7.2011

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various, Victories, Viewpoint, Visits

God has given me the privilege of visiting many different countries in all my years of doing missions. It seems as if in every country, God teaches me a different lesson; but at the same time, they are lessons that have a lot of common threads. As I give this more thought, there are several commonalities or traits that unite all the experiences together. No matter what country or culture, these traits open up opportunities for relationships and ministry.

They are:

1) LAUGHTER. It is amazing how humor opens up the hearts of people. Our time in Lampung has been good as we have been able to build relationships with the members of the churches, people in the neighborhood, and the different pastors. Even though we are different, humor has been bringing us together. Humor is transcultural. We are able to laugh about the same things; and now, we are even poking fun at each other.

2) LANGUAGE. I find it interesting how people find it endearing when we are able to speak their language. Even though it is just several phrase (with horrible pronunciation), they are encouraged when they see us trying. It shows that we want to enter into their “world” and there is an instant connection. Recently, with the youth of Lampung we taught them the word, “holla!” (bringing a little bit of gangsta flavor). Then we made it into a response to “Pugi Tuhan” (praise the Lord). It was an instant hit!

3) LOVE. The language of love is universal. It comes in all different forms – love for the host country’s food, love for the people, love for the culture, and etc. It is incredible to see the things that God accomplishes when this language of love is spoken. It becomes a bridge for strong relationships. It becomes the avenue for new opportunities. It becomes the gateway to a person’s heart. This is one language we need to be fluent in.

4) LIFE-GIVING. Whenever we go into a country and meet various people, we want to be a life-giving missions team. To be “life-giving” is to simply be an agent of bringing the hope of the Gospel and the blessings of God to an area or to a person. As we come with this kind of attitude, it has always brought a kindred spirit with people. People want to always be around other people who are living with hope, faith and love.

Reflections on Easter 2011

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various, Victories, Viewpoint


Photo from Widescreen Wallpapers
Now that the craziness of this past weekend is all over, I had some time to just sit down and reflect on everything that God accomplished. First of all, my heart is filled with thankfulness. The longer I do ministry, the more I am reminded that we are just broken and empty vessels that God, in His Sovereignty desires to use.

In the past, I would think about all the ways that I could have planned more, prepared more, and prayed more, but now I am more convinced than ever that it has less to do with me and more with what God is doing and what He wants to do.

This is not only humbling, but it is definitely freeing because no matter what I do (or don’t do), I have to trust that God will always accomplish His purpose. Not only does this release me from performance anxiety, but it fuels me to do things with a pure heart. This is when ministry is fun and exciting.

After some time of reflection, I came up with five things that God reminded me of this past weekend:

1) The TRUST in God. When the Executive Team and I were in discussions about having the Easter Celebration in Mendelssohn Theatre, some people had doubts about having it in a big venue. The big factor was that this year’s Easter fell right in the middle of finals. People were saying that we will most likely have a lower attendance because a lot of the students will probably go home once they are done with finals. But for some reason, I sensed that God wanted us to have one big celebration (by gathering the whole church together) rather than having two Easter services at the Transformation Center. We stepped out in faith and all we could do was to pray and trust that God would move the hearts of our members to stick around for the Easter Celebration, as well as to invite their friends. God honored our faith and our trust in Him. I just found out that we had the highest number of newcomers for an Easter Celebration in the history of our church. As our whole church was worshiping together, all in the same place with one heart, it was a powerful moment for me. There is definitely something about trusting in Him that makes God do some incredible things. God definitely is passionate about making things about Him and His glory rather than making it about us.

2) The TRUTH of God. I ended up wrestling a lot with how I was going to frame and present the message (I preached off John 20:19-31). There were a lot of different drafts. But I finally felt convicted to share it from an angle that would minister to all the groups of people who would attend the celebration. I got this sense that God wanted to work powerfully in people’s lives; therefore I had to preach the hard truth. This meant that I could not “candy coat” the Gospel. There are a lot of hard truths in the Bible. It is not easy sharing those things in a pluralistic and self-centered generation without offending someone. But I keep on mentioning to our church members, “If I do not offend you at least once in my sermon, then I have not preached the Gospel.” There were several moments during my sermon where I felt a hush (a sense of awe in the Presence of God) come over the theater. It was in the key moments where I talked about how our sins have put us in the situations that we are in right now, whether through disobedience, bad choices or our rebellion. But the story does not end there. Thankfully, God’s Presence is evident through His people, His peace and His power. His Presence is something that God offers through Jesus Christ, if we would only humble ourselves and receive it by faith.

3) The TOUCH of God. After giving a full explanation of what was going to happen during the closing praise time, I got this feeling that no matter how awkward it might feel for some people, God, through worship was going to overpower them with His love and mercy. I always have the privilege of looking out to the congregation and seeing people’s faces as they worship and experience God in a powerful way. Similar to other times, as I was looking out this past Sunday, I saw many people getting ministered unto through the worship time. As people were lifting up their hands and singing passionately the words of the songs, God was moving in the theater. It was as if God was reaching down to us and touching us with His power and His Presence. God truly inhabits (is enthroned in) the praise of His people (Ps 22:3).

4) The TEAMWORK of God’s people. When everyone in the Body of Christ is “functioning” and doing what we are called to do, then it is a beautiful sight. I was so encouraged by all the people who were serving on Easter. Some people had to get up early in the morning to help set things up. Other people were reaching out and showing God’s love to the newcomers. Still, other people were praying and preparing for the Easter Celebration. It is hard to describe in words all the stuff that went on before, during, and after the celebration. We have some of the most amazing servants of Christ in HMCC. Not only do they go above and beyond what is expected of them, but they are constantly reaching a new level of sacrifice and surrender as they serve the Living God. Everything just came together throughout the whole morning. I just love the partnership in the Gospel. Already I have been hearing some great testimonies of people who were praying for me, the service and their friends that came out. I heard about LIFE Groups partnering up together to have lunch afterwards to further the outreach. It is just awesome to see everyone doing their part.

5) The TRIUMPH of God’s purpose. It has been awe-inspiring to hear how God was orchestrating different relationships with people’s classmates, roommates, co-workers, friends, and family members to share Christ’s love. After giving the Gospel presentation, we gave everyone in the theater an opportunity to respond to God through a card that we passed out. People we encouraged to check off a box that best described the decision that they were making that day. Throughout Monday, I received e-mail messages from our church members who indicted that their friends received Christ for the first time, while others shared about how their friends recommitted their lives to Christ. These are the times when I just stand amazed at the work of God. No matter what Satan tries to do and no matter what mistakes get in the way of us turning to Christ, God’s purposes will always triumph and prevail. This is why after the Easter Celebration so many people had joy in their hearts. In fact, this is the message of Easter – it is the message of Jesus being triumphant over death and the grave; and since we are His children, we share in this triumph.
To God be all the glory (Sola Dei Gloria)!

Asia Update #5 – 3.2011

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Victories, Viewpoint, Visits

Here are some final thoughts and reflections from my 8 days out here in Asia. The journey started in Hong Kong and ended in Jakarta with an incredible stop in between to Singapore. God is definitely doing some extraordinary things out here. God is on the move and He is challenging us to follow Him with wholehearted devotion and faith.

It is hard to believe that everything out here has happened for us in the last two years. Can you imagine what God has in store for us in the next nine years, as we move towards the 2020 Vision? I am thankful for the privilege.

Asia Update #3 – 3.2011

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various, Victories, Visits

Right now, it is hard to describe everything that I am feeling and to put it in words. All I know is that my trip to Singapore this time around has been probably one of the best trips for me in the last 4-5 years. There was something about this trip that was different from all the other trips out to Singapore. Therefore, I spent some time reflecting on my plane trip from Singapore to Jakarta in order to process everything that I was feeling.

I can probably sum up the last 2.5 days in Singapore with three words: relationships, renewal, and reaffirmation.

1) RELATIONSHIPS. Even though, Singapore is one of the greatest cities in the world, I am coming to the realization that what I find most enjoyable about a city are the people that I have built a relationship with over the years. Sure, there are many culinary experiences that would make any person envious. There are spectacular sceneries that take your breath away, but ultimately, a person can get quickly bored and become indifferent to the sensory overload. However, when a love for a city is rooted in a love for the people in the city, then it is a whole different story. When I get to see the leaders of HMCC of Singapore, my heart is just overflowing with gratitude and thankfulness for the partnership we have in the Gospel. I love it when I am able to just sit down with the key leaders and hear all that God is doing in the church. I also love meeting new people – whether they are new to the church or people just off the streets. There is something about special about the unique people that God brings our way. More particularly, in the last few months HMCC-SGP has seen more international Chinese students coming out to church. They are from mainland China on a scholarship program that will keep them in Singapore for 10 years (4 years of school, 6 years of service to the Singaporean government). This was one of the greatest highlights for me because I was able to talk with them and share the love of Christ.

2) RENEWAL. As we get older and as we understand more of who we are, we have a clear idea of knowing what energizes us or what exhausts us. It is very apparent that I am not a meeting (formal) kind of guy. I am more free-flowing and I like to take life in the moment. I love the quintessential teaching moments where life lessons are learned as we do life together. The more structured the times together, the more I feel as if things are forced, rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to guide and dictate where things should go. With all this being said, I was renewed in my spirit as I was hanging out with people in Singapore. In fact, times of spontaneous conversations and discussions of various things were phenomenal as we just allowed the Spirit to direct our time together. Another thing that energized me was hanging out with the Chinese national students. I was shocked to hear that some of them have never heard of the name of Jesus. Yes, we are talking about people who have never had a witness of the Gospel in their lives. I don’t know why but this excites me. I guess it fuels the passion that I have for evangelism. An interesting thing happened as I was talking with these Chinese students. I told them that in very movie that they have ever watched, where they were moved (emotionally) or even cried, there is a Gospel message. I was a bit discombobulated when they asked, “What does the word, ‘Gospel’ mean?” Therefore, I rephrased it and said, “When movies are very good, there is a Christian story behind it.” Then they prodded them to test this theory. After a bunch of movies were names, I proceeded to make the connection for them (i.e. forgiveness, unconditional love, acceptance, redemption, hope, etc). Sometimes I don’t do very well with people who have been churched, but when it comes to doing ministry on the frontlines, where some people have either turned away from God or do not know about who God is, I find myself being energized in my spirit. Even though on this trip, I have been averaging about 4 hours of sleep, there is nothing that compares to the strength that God is providing.

3) REAFFIRMATION. As I have been talking with people in HMCC-SGP, I am just thankful that the global pastors and I took the step of faith and decided to lay down the foundations of this church plant. There are many good churches here in Singapore, but some things that are not emphasized as much are: non-superficial biblical community, non-shallow accountability, non-programmatic discipleship, and non-reproducing evangelism. I don’t know what it is but I think the region of Asia just has a preoccupation with things being “bigger and better.” This is why when we decided to get things moving, there were some raised eyebrows as they heard that we were going to initially start the church as a “house church.” After this trip to Singapore, I am more confident and 110% sure that starting the church when it did (which went against all human conventional wisdom) and in the manner of how we started (house church model) was the will of God. When I heard the two testimonies during the baptism service, my mind started racing – “What if we didn’t start this church when we did?” “Would we have heard these testimonies of God’s powerful work in a person’s life?” I love it when God affirms (and reaffirms) things in our lives. It is as if God is saying, “keep at it, you are headed in the right direction!” God’s timing is impeccable. In fact, it is meticulous and matchless. When we live our lives with an unrivaled trust and faith in an awesome God, then we open the doors of opportunity for God to do incredible things.

I think I can do this for the rest of my life. I am truly a blessed man.

People mingling together as we start the baptism service

Sharing the “Christian story” in all the good movies

Jasper sharing his testimony about how God can change anybody’s heart

Ivy sharing about God’s grace and redemption to a prodigal daughter

Rachel joining in the baptism reminded me of the importance of investment

A group picture with the baptized candidates

One of Chinese national’s first b-day outside of her country. She was blessed.

Asia Update #2 – 3.2011

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various, Victories, Visits

I just finished off my time in Hong Kong and I am now in Singapore. As I have been reflecting on the last several days here in Asia, my heart is just overwhelmed with thankfulness. Not only do I have the privilege of seeing first-hand all that God is doing in this region, but I am able to connect (and reconnect) with people that God has Sovereignly brought into my life.

The more I spend time with people, the more I am just amazed at God’s persistent love and faithfulness. I am constantly left flabbergasted as God is weaving a beautiful tapestry of relationships all around the world.

Even though it has been tiring with all the meetings, I have been energized by God’s Spirit. Please continue to pray for me and the work that God is doing out here.

HMCC of Austin Retreat Reflections 2011

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various, Victories, Viewpoint, Visits

I love the local church. They come in all different sizes, styles and shapes. We should never relegate the church to a building or even to a “place” where we go, but instead, we have to constantly remind ourselves that it is made up of people – people that Christ loves and gave Himself in sacrificial obedience to the Father.

This is why it was such a privilege to go to HMCC of Austin for their congregational retreat.

I was able to bring along with me a handful of people who are actively serving in our HMCC of Ann Arbor. There are always teaching moments during these types of trips; therefore my heart’s desire was for my crew to experience God’s heart for the local church. Sometimes when we are placed in a different context, we are able to learn new lessons and reinforce old lessons that are relevant to the things that we are pursuing for God’s glory.

It was a powerful retreat – definitely one of the more powerful ones that we have experienced in Austin. We are praying that God will continue on with the momentum, so that we can see more salvations and more people getting trained to be Kingdom workers. Every time I visit Austin, I am more convinced that there was a clear purpose for the planting of this church. We want to stay focused on the mission.

Thanks for all your prayers during the retreat. Let’s continue to keep HMCC of Austin in our prayers. God is doing some great things down in Austin and we are anticipating greater things to come in the near future.

Here are some reflections from the crew:

Reflections on 2011 One Desire Fast

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Victories, Viewpoint


Photo by HMCC Publication Team
I will confess – I hate fasting, but it is a spiritual discipline that has been a part of my spirituality ever since I was in college. For some reason, with all the ups and downs of fasting, God has used it to really minister to me over the years. This is why as we were preparing for the One Desire Fast 2011, I just knew that God still wanted to deal with various areas of my life.

When I was younger, I always saw fasting as “denying” myself of food and that through fasting I was somehow becoming more holy. But Christina would be the first one to tell me that I am becoming anything but holy. There have been many times when I would have to double check my motives and most of all, my attitude. It is always during fasting where all the ugliness of my heart would come out. I am wondering if fasting is one of God’s tools and purposes of showing who we really are.

This year’s fast for some reason has been a little bit different. In the previous years, I really had to guard my heart against various things; but this year I really felt God was doing something not only in my life but in the life of our church.

Here are some personal reflections and realizations from the One Desire Fast:

1) The simplicity of focus. This year we did not have our annual congregational retreat. It was our conviction to simplify some things in our church structure. Therefore, in the month of January, the only thing on our church’s calendar was the One Desire Fast. Even in our Sunday sermon series, we decided to preach on the spiritual habits of a Christ-follower and the first part was on the topic of fasting. We also had specified applications that were specifically geared towards the response of building spiritual habits. We never had this kind of focus for just a fast. But the more I reflect on this, the more I see how our focus does play a huge part in the benefits of having a corporate fast. Also, instead of focusing so much on the food (what we can eat and not eat), we tried to focus on the various prayer topics.

2) The spiritual warfare.
It was incredible to hear all the different stories about how members were experiencing spiritual warfare during this fast. People were having weird dreams, struggling through some old sins from the past, getting more distracted, sensing an intense feeling of spiritual opposition. One day, I was talking to Christina and asked her why she thinks the spiritual warfare was happening and her answer left me speechless. She said, “It is not that there is more spiritual warfare, but as people are fasting, we are more spiritually aware of the battle that occurs every day.” What she said was so true. When we are fasting we are just awakened more to what goes on throughout a normal day. This definitely caused us to pray more and depend on God’s protection.

3) The strength of unity. For some reason, it just felt like more people were fasting than in the previous years. I was very encouraged to see that all our LIFE Group members (married couples) participating in the fast. Usually it is harder to motivate post-college people to make the sacrifice to fast and seek the Lord. But when I found out that our members were fasting, it made me realize the power of unity. Even as we were meeting together for LIFE Group on Tuesday, we just knew that we were standing together and persevering together. We had a great time of sharing and praying for one another. I also felt this on the church-wide level. It was inspiring to see some of the people fast for the first-time in their spiritual journey. Then to see all our HMCC churches fasting together and praying for one another, it was mind-blogging.

4) The spread of the Gospel. After our fast, a lot of people were getting the sense that God wanted to challenge us, as a church to be more outward focused. It is so easy to be focused on ourselves, especially when we are doing a fast. But ultimately, we have to realize that the fast was preparing us and positioning us for something greater. There was a tremendous burden for us to find ways to spread the Gospel message throughout our campus and our community. Now that our corporate fast is finished, we are going to pull our resources and our attention to reaching out to more lost people. I am wondering if we want to grow in gaining God’s heart for reaching the lost, then we need should seek God by committing ourselves to a fast.

With all these blessings, I am looking forward to another opportunity for our whole church to come together to fast and to seek God as one body. But in the meantime, we are excited for all the things that God has in store for us in the months to come.

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).


HMCC of Austin Update 11.15.10

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various, Victories, Visits

Every time I travel to one of the HMCC churches, I am reminded how much Jesus loves His Bride (Eph 5:25-27). Even though each church is a little different due to the context, I am thankful that each of our churches has the same DNA.

It has been refreshing to spend some time with Pastor Ben and his family. Their family has always been special to Christina and me because Pastor Ben was there when we first started the church in Ann Arbor back in 1996. Also, we knew Susan when she was a freshmen and saw her grow up to be a woman of God.

On this trip, I also had the opportunity to meet up with the leaders of the church and with a few of the new believers who came to know Christ through our ministry. I am just amazed at all the powerful ways in which Christ has been working. We are constantly reminded that it is not about us, but all about His glory!

This trip was particularly encouraging because I got a glimpse of how HMCC of Austin is being faithful to one of their callings to reach the nations. We had a potluck dinner after Sunday Celebration and the members were supposed to bring a dish from their country. We had cuisine represented from – China, Korea, Indonesia, Japan, Bahrain, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Iran, Nigeria, Jamaica, Germany, and etc.

Many of these people are pre-Christians and our committed members are doing the hard work of building relationships and investing in their lives. Not only is the harvest field great, but I believe that HMCC of Austin will reap a tremendous harvest for the Lord in the days to come.