2013 !gnite Recap

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Victories, Vision

 
Humbled. Amazed. Energized.
 
Transforming lives, transforming the world!
Campuses. Cities. Countries. Continents.
 
 

Joining the Movement

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Various, Victories, Viewpoint, Vision

 

Graphics by Katie Chang
 
 
 
My journey started back in 2005 when I went to India. It was the first time where the realities of the sex slavery industry were brought to my attention. After hearing the stories of so many women and children who were enslaved, it broke my heart. Some of the girls were as young as 12 years old and they belonged to brothels in the heart of Mumbai’s redlight district.

The clincher for me was when I was asked to pray for a lady who was dying of AIDS-HIV. I still remember very vividly the room where the lady was lying on her bed in her frail condition. It was hard to pray knowing that this woman was given a few more weeks to live. I had to ask God for greater faith.

I ended up going back to India in 2006 and God kept on putting this issue of human slavery in my heart.

After I came back from India, life got busy and the convictions that God placed on my heart were put on the backburner.

However, God would not let me forget or let me off the hook. More recently, God used the film Nefarious to speak to Christina and me. At the end of the movie, we felt compelled to pray. We asked God to give us (our family and our church) His marching orders.

Since then, lots have happened.

We gathered a handful of people and started a launch team for the Liberty Mission movement. We highlighted the human slavery issue on December 2nd by dedicating a whole Sunday Celebration to bring greater awareness to our church. It was also the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery; therefore it was exciting to know that we were united with other organizations to bring attention to this issue.

In January 2013, we are going to have a call out meeting for everyone in our church who is passionate about getting involved. We will be forming various teams to get things rolling and put things into action. There are also a few immersion and learning trips in the works so that we can give people first-hand exposure to what is going on around the world.

This issue is massive and there is no one person or one church/organization that can tackle this alone. This is why we are going to just be faithful to our small part in the greater movement of God, while at the same time link up with other groups that are united in the common vision. Please join us in making a dent in Satan’s territory.

You can get more information at: libertymission.org

Giving Towards Transformation

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint, Vision

 
The last couple of months have been filled with reconnections. Through my international travels, I have been able to meet a lot of alumni who are now in different parts of the world. Also, I have been able to reconnect with some alumni who came back to Ann Arbor to visit.

Every time I talk with the alumni, I am encouraged to hear that many of them are still walking faithfully with the Lord and they are serving diligently in their new churches.

It has always been our vision, “to transform lost people into Christ’s disciples who will then transform the world.” Therefore, when I see many of these old HMCC members who are now making an impact in different spheres of society throughout the world, it is truly inspiring.

In my conversations with former members, three questions usually come up: 1) How are things going in Ann Arbor now? 2) What are some new things that God is doing in HMCC? 3) What are some ways to help continue the work of transformation?

My response has always been the same: God is working in great ways to build up His church in spite of who we are.

We are humbled to see many people experience God for the first time as they profess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior (we have seen more salvations in the last few years than ever before). There have been many people who have encountered God’s healing through prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit (many incredible testimonies of God’s deliverance). Many people are being challenged to live out the Gospel in radical ways so that they can transform the world (people are taking some huge steps of faith to follow God).

With all this happening in spite of our weaknesses, we excited about all the new ventures that God is opening up for us. God has given us the 2020 Vision to accomplish for His glory. I believe that the best is yet to come.

Over the years, I have learned that besides prayer and God’s anointing, there always needs to be 3 things to make things happen: 1) A clear vision; 2) People to carry out the vision; 3) Resources to fund the vision.

As people have been asking how they can help in continuing the work of transformation, I have told them that we need prayer more than anything else. Then secondly, we need resources to carry out the vision of transformation.

Throughout HMCC’s history, there have always been generous people who gave to the vision so that God’s work of transformation can be experienced by others. We are at a point where the needs are greater because there are more people to be reach with the Gospel. I want to personally invite you to join us in the great journey by prayer and by giving.

If you have been blessed and transformed through HMCC, then play a part in future transformation of lives by giving. We have provided an easy way for you to give online. If Jesus was able to multiply fives loaves and two fish to feed thousands, there is no sacrifice that is too small.

Click below and be a part of the work of transformation.

Sex Slavery Highlight

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Victories, Vision, Visuals

 
I am always encouraged when people in all our HMCC churches are making a difference for Christ around the world, especially when they use their passions and gifts to communicate some aspects of the message of Christ.

God has been putting our church in a journey to address the issue of human slavery. We have to remember that a movement always starts small, but then it picks up momentum when lots of people get involved with the same vision and cause.

One of our students in HMCC of Chicago, where Pastor Jimmy Roh is the lead pastor, did a documentary on the sex slavery issue in Chicago. The problem with sex slavery is not just in Asia, but it is right here in the United States, particularly in the larger cities.

She did a great job of highlighting the issue in her documentary (which by the way has been nominated for College Emmy’s Awards). We need more abolitionists to rise up from our churches and to join the greater movement around the world. God is definitely up to something.

Check it out the video.
 
 
 

Nefarious

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Vision

 

 
 
 
As part of our Missions Week, we are showing the highly acclaimed documentary, “Nefarious” to bring awareness to the human slavery situation around the world. One of the first steps in being part of the solution is to bring awareness and then to take action. The evil of sex slavery has infiltrated into the fabric of society and we cannot stay silent.

This is something that breaks the heart of God. If the Church does not speak against this evil, then we have lost our credibility as a people who are commanded “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God” (Mic 6:8). We want to be a voice for the voiceless.

It is my prayer that through this documentary and other initiatives, we can raise up a generation of abolitionists who will fight for justice and live for God’s glory.

Here is a trailer of the documentary:
 
 

We Cry Out

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Various, Vision

 

Picture by HMCC-AA Publications Team
 
 
 
We are in the middle of our Missions Week. Ever since HMCC got started back in 1996, we always had a vision that our church will participate in God’s mission regardless of the cost. It is too easy to make church about going to a service on Sunday and hanging out with people that we feel comfortable with, but Christ has called us to something greater.

In fact, the command that Jesus gave was, “therefore go and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19). This is the reason why every week we try to remind ourselves the reason why we exist as a church. This is also the reason why every year, we try to out extra focus and attention on the God’s mission.

This year the theme is, “We Cry Out.”

There are billions of people around the world that are crying out because of their pain and hopelessness. We, as the people of God want to hear their cry and cry out for them through intercession. I believe that God will hear our cry as we humble ourselves and pray (2 Chr 7:14).

Join us!

Our Mission Series

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Various, Vision

 

Designed by HMCC Publications Team
 
 
 
One of the hardest things about doing ministry on a university campus is the high turnover rate that we see every year. Students come and go. Sometimes students will graduate and stick around because of the church; but many will move on to different parts of the world. With every new academic year, the pressing need is to reiterate the vision and mission of our church. I am reminded of what the writer of Proverbs said when it comes to vision – “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Pr 29:18 KJV).

We are starting a 3-part series called, “Our Mission” in order to: 1) REINFORCE the reasons for why we do what we do; 2) RENEW our commitment to God’s calling for our church. I’m looking forward to sharing the mission that our church has had for the last 16+ years with unapologetic and unwavering devotion. Our mission is simply, “to transform lost people into Christ’s disciples who will then transform the world.”

Succinctly, “TRANSFORMING LIVES. TRANSFORMING THE WORLD.”

Longing for Revival

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

 
As all the HMCC churches are getting ready for the !gnite Conference, I have been praying that God would do something special in our time together. It is so exciting to have all our HMCC churches come together in unity to seek God’s heart. I can’t wait. It really will be like a family reunion!

We will once again have the churches in Indonesia and Singapore join us on a live stream broadcast. Students from Hong Kong will also be linking up with us. In the future, we will have many more places and people represented as we continue to “transform lives and transform the world.”

One thing I have been praying about is that God would send a powerful wave of His Spirit at all our gatherings. Throughout the last several weeks, I have felt a tremendous burden to pray for this.

I don’t know exactly what God will do at this year’s !gnite Conference, but all I know is that if we humble ourselves and seek His face, we will experience something great. This made me long for a revival in my heart and the hearts of all our students. What would happen if the Holy Spirit visited us in a powerful way? We will never be the same.

The more I thought about the need for the Holy Spirit at this conference, the more I began to think about the various revivals that God sent throughout history. I ended up watching a lot of videos that inspired me.

Here are some of the most famous revivals throughout history. It is not an exhaustive list by any means, but it is just some that has ignited my heart to pray.

See if you can find the common thread between all these revivals.
 
 

[ The Pyongyang Revival of 1907 ]
 
 
 

[ The Welsh Revival of 1904-1905 ]
 
 
 

[ The Azusa Street Revival of 1906 ]
 
 
 

[ The First Great Awakening ]
 
 
 

[ The Second Great Awakening ]

We Need Another William Wilberforce

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint, Vision

 

Photo on wikipedia.org
 
 
 
It is interesting that throughout history, God always highlights an issue of injustice in which He desires the Church to take on with truth and love. With each issue, God raises up a person to become the “prophetic voice” to speak to the sleeping Church and to the world. One such person in history was William Wilberforce, a member of the British parliament and a social reformer. He was one of the key influencers in the abolition of the slave trade, as well as slavery in the British Empire.

In a Christian History article, they gave a biography of Wilberforce’s life:

In the late 1700s, when William Wilberforce was a teenager, English traders raided the African coast on the Gulf of Guinea, captured between 35,000 and 50,000 Africans a year, shipped them across the Atlantic, and sold them into slavery. It was a profitable business that many powerful people had become dependent upon. By the late 1700s, the economics of slavery were so entrenched that only a handful of people thought anything could be done about it. That handful included William Wilberforce.

He was a native of Hull and educated at St. John’s College at Cambridge. But he wasn’t a serious student. Yet Wilberforce had political ambitions and, with his connections, managed to win election to Parliament in 1780, where he formed a lasting friendship with William Pitt, the future prime minister. He began to reflect deeply on his life, which led to a period of intense sorrow. His unnatural gloom lifted on Easter 1786. He had experienced a spiritual rebirth.

He abstained from alcohol and practiced rigorous self-examination as befit, he believed, a ‘serious’ Christian. He abhorred the socializing that went along with politicking. He worried about ‘the temptations at the table,’ the endless dinner parties, which he thought were full of vain and useless conversation. He began to see his life’s purpose.

In particular, two causes caught his attention. First, under the influence of Thomas Clarkson, he became absorbed with the issue of slavery. Wilberforce was initially optimistic, even naively so. As early as 1789, he and Clarkson managed to have 12 resolutions against the slave trade introduced – only to be outmaneuvered on fine legal points. The pathway to abolition was blocked by vested interests, parliamentary filibustering, entrenched bigotry, international politics, slave unrest, personal sickness, and political fear. Other bills introduced by Wilberforce were defeated in 1791, 1792, 1793, 1797, 1798, 1799, 1804, and 1805.

When it became clear that Wilberforce was not going to let the issue die, pro-slavery forces targeted him. He was vilified; opponents spoke of ‘the damnable doctrine of Wilberforce and his hypocritical allies.’ The opposition became so fierce.

Slavery was only one cause that excited Wilberforce’s passions. His second great calling was for the ‘reformation of manners,’ that is, morals. In early 1787, he conceived of a society that would work, as a royal proclamation put it, ‘for the encouragement of piety and virtue; and for the preventing of vice, profaneness, and immorality.’ It eventually become known as the Society for the Suppression of Vice.

In fact, Wilberforce was at one time active in support of 69 philanthropic causes. He gave away one-quarter of his annual income to the poor. He fought on behalf of chimney sweeps, single mothers, Sunday schools, orphans, and juvenile delinquents. He helped found parachurch groups like the Society for Bettering the Cause of the Poor, the Church Missionary Society, the British and Foreign Bible Society, and the Antislavery Society.

In 1797, he settled at Clapham, where he became a prominent member of the ‘Clapham Sect,’ a group of devout Christians of influence in government and business. That same year he wrote Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians – a scathing critique of comfortable Christianity that became a bestseller.

All this in spite of the fact that poor health plagued him his entire life, sometimes keeping him bedridden for weeks. His antislavery efforts finally bore fruit in 1807: Parliament abolished the slave trade in the British Empire. He then worked to ensure the slave trade laws were enforced and, finally, that slavery in the British Empire was abolished.

 
 
Historian G.M. Trevelyan said that the abolition of slavery in the British Empire was, “one of the turning events in the history of the world.”

Is there another issue that could be a key turning event in the history of the world?

I believe that right now, it is the issue of human trafficking. It is noted that human trafficking is the second largest global organized crime today. There are close to 27 million people who are enslaved worldwide and anywhere between 600,000 and 800,000 people are trafficked internationally. Sadly, 70% of them are female and 50% are children (there are 1.2 million children who are trafficked for sex).

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2009 report, it is estimated that human trafficking generates close 32 billion USD each year. Alarmingly, trafficking for sexual exploitation generates 27.8 billion USD each year.

What would Jesus say? What would Jesus do?

Even though this issue has always been in existence throughout history, there are moments in history where God puts a high-beam on an issue so that the Church can unite together to stand for justice and speak for those who do not have a voice.

This is one of those times. We are going to need more fanatics in our generation.
 

“If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large.”

[William Wilberforce]

 
 
 

The Proof of a Vision

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

 

Photo from asianaccess.org
 
 
 
One day we will all die. I have learned that the sooner we accept this fact, the sooner we will be able to live our lives with purpose. Even though many of us might know our end destination, it is interesting to see how many people are not living their lives with a clear vision. Some people cannot even see what their lives will be like a year from now, let alone two months from now. Therefore we relegate ourselves to a subpar life.

A vision enables us to catch a glimpse of what the future might look like. Then out of that vision we can start setting our goals and objectives. One thing we have to keep in mind is that a vision has to be developed and nurtured; therefore, it is a process and it takes time. There will always be circumstances that will come against the vision, but those who are focused will see their vision become a reality.

But the question is, “How do you know if your vision has traction and is able to influence others?” Dan Reiland in his article, “Evidence of a Vision” gives a list of evidences that will helps us to know.

Here are a handful of traits to consider. Reiland writes:

1) A deep passion that captures people’s attention. Your vision will only burn as bright as you do. This idea is not about you ‘working up’ something or ‘turning on’ the hype. When this passion comes from deep within you, people will sense it. The impact is palpable. It is inescapable. You will have the people’s attention. They will be excited. They’ll ask questions and want to know what’s next. They will be eager for more information. They will be proud of the vision and tell their friends.

2) A largeness that creates enthusiasm. This is not about numbers, though numbers matter. The idea of largeness is more about being bold for the sake of the Kingdom! It’s the ‘go big or go home’ idea. The vision needs to be large enough to require God in the mix or it won’t work. You can see the need for balance between ‘believable’ and large! Leadership is an art and crafting the vision is just as important as communicating it. There is a direct connection between the size of the vision and the level of enthusiasm.

3) A dedication that inspires sacrifice. This is similar to passion. The difference is found in your tenacity. Passion can be big, but short term. Dedication is long term, and requires determination and resolve. Candidly, it’s easy to be passionate for a short time, but to be dedicated for years, even decades, takes an uncommon leader. This will result in a dedication found in the people. Much like passion, the people will not be more dedicated than you are to the vision. The outcome is a willingness to sacrifice. The sacrifice can be seen in time, energy, and financial resources.

4) Resources flowing toward the vision. Now we really get practical! Money! Let’s be candid, money follows vision. Without financial resources, no matter how godly you behave, the mission can’t move forward. A worthy vision shouldn’t be free, and a vision that is truly worthy will attract financial resources. No church ever has ‘enough’ but God will supply what we need to accomplish the vision.

5) A soundness that stands up to scrutiny and the test of time. You know the difference between fluff and something of substance. Your vision needs to have a biblical soundness and a solid nature that stands up to examination over time. It needs to make sense and have obvious evidence that it was well thought through. This does not suggest that you should make it complicated. In fact, sometimes making something simple, which is in reality complicated, is far more work than the reverse!

6) You cannot be silenced! When my kids were younger and they really wanted a certain toy for Christmas, there was no silencing them! They dream big and never give up! I love this thought. It’s simple but powerful. If God has breathed a vision in you, you simply cannot and will not be silenced. That’s it! Compare this to the things we want silenced like negative talk and gossip. Wow, what a difference. Don’t let anyone shut you down. Keep talking your vision!

 
 
With these evidences to consider, do you have a vision in your life that is worth living for? When I was younger a mentor told me something that helped me as I was struggling to gain a vision for my life. He said, “If you don’t have a vision, borrow one until God gives you a clear vision for your life.”

Now, this is the same advice I am giving to people who are having a hard time gaining a vision for their lives. One good place to start is to barrow the church’s vision. We are praying together for the 2020 Vision to become a reality. We know that we are just playing a small part of the greater things that God is doing all over the world. Join us and be a part of God’s greater vision for transformation!

A Dream Come True

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint, Vision

 

 
 
There are times when we long for something so badly that it hurts. If you talk to any die-hard Chicago Cubs fan, they will tell you about their longing to see the Cubs win a world championship. The last time they won a championship was back in 1908 – a 103 year drought, which by the way is the longest for any MLB team.

It would be a dream come true if they won a championship in the near future. Every die-hard Cubs fan is a hopeless romantic, who thinks that every new season will be “the” year. I am hoping that if not this year, then the Cubs would at least win it all within my lifetime.

The waiting and the hoping reminds me of Simon and Anna in the Bible (Lk 2:25-38) and how they waited for the Messiah. After all the years of waiting, they were able to have their longings met as they saw the Savior.

I realized that the same longing is evident when a person longs to see their family member or friend come to know Jesus Christ, as Savior and Lord. With every passing day, the longing grows deeper; but when they do come to receive Christ, the joy is unspeakable. This is what we are praying for this coming Easter.

There is no guarantee that the Cubs will win the championship this year, but thankfully God’s Word will never fail. Therefore, we can trust that God’s purposes will always come true. We are praying for many salvations this Easter. It is going to be a joyous day!

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Pe 3:9)

2012 Global Access Retreat

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Various, Vision

 

Photo by Zhi-Jun Loh
 
 
 
It is hard to believe that little over 10 years ago a handful of people gathered together to talk about the possibility of starting an international ministry at our church. Back in 2001, we started to notice that God was bringing many international students to our ministry. Honestly, even to this day, I really don’t know why they started coming out.

I definitely spoke to fast during my sermons and most of our members were Americans. We really didn’t have any specific ministries to meet the international students’ needs; therefore we were a bit confused as to why God was entrusting us with international students.

But now, in retrospect, after seeing many international students’ lives being transformed by the Gospel message and also seeing the international churches that we have planted, it makes more sense.

We have come to the conclusion that God wanted to use our church to reach out to the international students, while they were here at the University of Michigan for four years. Many of them left the comforts of their homes in order to receive a top-notched university education, but God had other plans.

God was sovereignly and strategically bringing them to the University of Michigan so that they can experience the power of the Gospel. Then after graduation, God was sending them back to their countries, in order to be a powerful witness of the Gospel. It has been encouraging to see how God enabled us to plant churches in different international cities. As the alumni were trained and commissioned back to their nations, God was preparing them to be a part of the greater vision of seeing churches started all over the world.

This is why ever since we started to have a separate Global Access retreat for all the international students in our church, we have been asking God to do some incredible things. I am excited to see what God will do this year with all the international students. In particular, we will be uniting together with the international students from HMCC of Chicago. It will be a great time of linking students from the same countries together to pray for their nation.

It is my hope and prayer that we will catch a greater vision for world evangelization through the international students in all our HMCC churches. This is definitely a kairos moment!

Invite Me In

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint, Vision

 

Photo on thexroads.org
 
 
 
We are about 4 weeks away from Easter. Usually for churches, Christmas and Easter are big moments in a church’s calendar. In particular, for us here at HMCC, Easter is our biggest Sunday Celebration gathering every year. Due to the fact that we are on a college campus, we don’t have as many people come out to our Christmas Sunday Celebration compared to our Easter Sunday Celebration. Therefore, we spend a lot of time praying, planning and preparing for our Easter Sunday Celebration. It is just one of the many avenues that we provide for our church members to get involved in God’s heart for the lost.

It is encouraging to see people in our church spend time with pre-Christians to build relationships throughout the year. With the relational investment, we try to exhort our members to invite their friends to join us for our Easter Celebration. Even though our members are inviting and sharing the Gospel throughout the year, there is something special about Easter. It is a time when many pre-Christians are open to checking out church.

Here are some statistics from Thom Rainer’s book, The Unchurched Next Door:

• Most people come to church because of a personal invitation.
• Only 2% of church-going people invite someone to church in a given year. That means 98% of church-goers never extend an invitation in a given year.
• 7 out of 10 unchurched people have never been invited to church in their whole lives.
• 82% of the unchurched are at least somewhat likely to attend church if invited.

If we just rely on these statistics, we have to conclude that there is definitely a problem in the Church. Why are there only 2% of church members who are inviting people to church? Is it because they are embarrassed of their church? Are they afraid of rejection? Or is it because they do not know any pre-Christians in their sphere of influence?

It is sad to find out that 82% of the unchurched would be open to attending church if they were invited. Therefore, we know that the problem is not with the pre-Christian and the problem is not with God because He is always moving in the hearts of people. Ultimately, the problem is that we, as Christ-followers fail to take up our responsibility to invest and invite.

As we will have the privilege of having our Easter Celebration this year at the Michigan Theater, let’s do our part in inviting people that we have been praying for since the One Desire Fast. The seating capacity at Michigan Theater is 1,700, therefore we have more than enough room to welcome people to encounter God. I pray that we will do our part because we know that God will always do His part in bringing lost people to Himself.

Here is a video that reminds us of the importance of the invitation.
 
 

One Desire Fast 2012

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint, Vision

 

Photo by HMCC Publications Team
 
 
 
We are excited to start our One Desire Fast. All the HMCC churches are coming together in Spirit and in unity to seek God’s heart. I believe that we are going to see some incredible fruits from our time of fasting.

In this fast and throughout the whole year of 2012, we are going to focus in on 3 specific goals:

1) Read through the entire Bible in 1 year
2) Pray for at least 1 person to come to know Christ
3) Pray for a future site to open – Detroit, NYC, Kuala Lumpur & Hong Kong

With God help and His leading, we believe that we will hear some great testimonies in the near future. God is passionate about His glory and as we align our hearts with His, we are going to experience some awesome things.

If you haven’t signed up for a prayer slot, please do so here (don’t forget to make sure that you sign up from your specific site).

You can check out all the various people from the different HMCC sites who have signed up so far. It is exciting to see that even though we are hundreds and thousands of miles away, we are joined together under a common vision and mission.

Throughout this week, we will have pastors and leaders from each of the HMCC sites share some of their thoughts and expectations for this One Desire Fast. Come check it out every day throughout this week.