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.
 
 
 

Aurora Borealis

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Various, Visuals

 
One of my dreams is to experience the Aurora Borealis in person, either in Alaska, Norway or Finland. There is something fascinating about these “dancing lights.” It just reminds me of God’s incredible creativity when He created the world. It just leaves you in awe.

Recently this year, on January 24th, there was a massive radiation storm which was produced from an intense solar flare that erupted from the sun. It unleashed a wave of charged particles and caused some of the the strongest solar radiation storm since 2005. This has sparked a phenomenal northern lights show.

Even though we cannot be there at this moment, we can at least see it via video. The video below was taken by Chad Blakley, who captured a view of the Aurora Borealis in Sweden. I wish I could have been there.
 

 
 
 
This next video is a compilation of various views of the extraordinary Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis). It is just awesome to see all the different backgrounds and the lights bouncing around with elegance and grace. It is truly breathtaking!
 

Review of “Transforming Discipleship”

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

 

 
 
 
I just recently finished reading Greg Ogden’s book, Transforming Discipleship. I was given this book for free to provide a review; therefore, since I enjoy reading and the topic is something that I am passionate about (anything with the word “transform” has my attention [smile]), I decided to write some things about it on my blog.

Even though this book was published in 2003, there were still a lot of relevant points to consider for our generation and beyond. I appreciated Ogden first starting off the book by giving the current situation with the Church and discipleship. He used the word “superficial” to summarize the state of discipleship that we see today. Although, Ogden was describing the Church at the turn of the 21 century, fast forward eight years and this is still the situation today in the Church. There have been some definite improvements, as more pastors and leaders are seeing the current crisis of “superficial” discipleship in the Church. But overall, it has been a slow process. Change always takes time.

It was helpful that Ogden laid out his expectations and ideas of what the biblical standard of discipleship should be in the Church. In fact, he gave seven specific traits of a biblical standard: proactive ministers, a disciplined way of life, discipleship affecting all of life, a countercultural force, an essential organism, biblically informed people, and people who share their faith.

If you look at these traits, it is clear that it describes a follower of Christ who is not passive and someone who is willing to invest in building the Kingdom of God. In essence, true biblical discipleship requires people to go against the flow and choosing to be uncomfortable in their journey with Christ.

As Ogden lays out the expectations of a Christ-follower who is committed to discipleship, he gives us various reasons why there is a discipleship malaise. One big factor that stuck out for me was the issue of discipling through programs. We see this all the time in churches. Pastors and leaders have tried to make disciples through programs; and the track-record tells us that it is not very effective.

Program oriented discipleship is usually focused on head knowledge; but head knowledge alone will not transform people. The sad part is that it usually produces proud and arrogant people who develop a big head, but fail in growing their heart and character. Programs are easy for leaders because it does not require a lot of relational investment. All that the leader has to do is to just “run” the class and make sure that the information is being transferred to the people. But if you look at the life of Jesus with his disciples, it was always based on a relationship. It is only when our lives are intertwined with people that we will be able to make a difference and see disciples being made.

But the biggest failure comes from the top. Pastors and leaders have failed to challenge people into a life of radical discipleship. Whether it is our fear of raising the standard or our lack of knowing a clear pathway to maturity, the leadership of the Church has failed in following Jesus’ command to “make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19).

One thing I really appreciated Ogden mentioning was the fact that due to people’s “inadequate view of the church as a discipleship community” it has caused an enormous gap in producing quality disciples. What better place than to get discipled through the local church? This is where you can grow in your commitment, accountability, serving, sacrifice, and spiritual depth. Maybe a stronger view of ecclesiology will help people to see discipleship in a whole new way?

Over three chapters, Ogden mentions some key points of how Jesus modeled discipleship and how the Apostle Paul carried out discipleship in his ministry. In essence, everything came down to the relationship between the disciple and the disciplee. As Jesus spent time with the disciples, He was able to influence and impact His disciples. As Jesus spent time with the disciples almost every day over a three and half year period, it had a profound effect on them. In the same way, Paul was focused on the relationship as well, but it was more from a spiritual parenting or spiritual fathering angle. With the idea of spiritual parenting, it helped to see that it is really about assisting people go through different spiritual lifestages such as infancy, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.

It was good to see Ogden draw a lot of reference from Dr. Robert E. Coleman’s books, The Master Plan of Evangelism and The Master Plan of Discipleship. Both these books had a significant impact on me during my seminary years. Also, I had the privilege of getting discipled by Dr. Coleman; therefore I was able to catch the heart behind a lot of the principles that were shared in his books.

Towards the end of the book, Ogden gave a vision (or a picture) of what it would be like if we took seriously the call to discipleship and then started to multiply. It would be a definite shift from “adding” disciples to “multiplying” disciples. The thought of increasing the effectiveness in reach people with the Gospel through multiplication is another powerful reminder that the Church cannot just coast by with superficial discipleship. We need radical people, who are willing to radically disciple people, so that we can radically transform the world.

In order to see genuine transformation, Ogden gives three specific and necessary ingredients: transparent trust, the truth of God’s Word, and mutual accountability. All these things help catalyze a thriving and growing discipleship relationship.

If we can see more churches take on the call to radical discipleship, we will see a revolution on the horizon. Without it, the Church will be filled with people who are just going through the motions of Christianity and not being faithful to the call that Jesus gave to people who would follow Him.

May we remember the word of Jesus, when He said, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it” (Lk 14:26-27; 33; Mk 8:34-35).

Lessons from the Movie “UP”

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Values, Viewpoint, Visuals

 
up-movie
Photo by Pixar
 
 
 
Let me first start off and say that if you have not watched the movie UP and you are planning on watching it soon, then you want to stop reading this post (this is a spoiler alert).
 
 
 
 
 
I don’t know about you but when I first saw the commercials for the movie, I was a bit skeptical. How can a movie about an old man who flies around in a house that is tied up with helium-filled balloons even be a movie worth watching? But after hearing a lot of good things about the movie, our family decided to go watch it – in 3D.

There were so many good lessons and biblical principles in the movie that it is hard to just narrow it down to just one or two. But there were two lessons in the movie that made me think a lot of my own life, as well as the human heart.

It was incredible how Pixar was able to sum up a person’s life just within the first 20 minutes of the movie. Carl Fredericksen, the main character in the movie, finally arrives at Paradise Falls and fulfills the lifelong dream of his wife, Ellie. As Carl sits in the chair and pulls out Ellie’s scrapbook called, “My Adventure Book,” he realizes for the first time that the greatest adventure for her was being together with him. Ellie had filled the scrapbook with photos of memorable moments together throughout their marriage.

It was at this moment that Carl realizes that he has been living for a “dream” but all the while his wife was living the dream with him. This realization allows him to find inspiration for living life with a greater purpose. So often, we always live for that “one day” which causes us to miss out on life and fail to enjoy and live passionately for today.

The second lesson that stuck out for me was discovered in the young boy name Russell (side note: it was good that they had an Asian character as one of the main characters). We notice the character development of Russell as we begin to find out about his absentee father. It is not clear if his parents are divorced or not but all we know is that he is not involved in Russell’s life.

We quickly discover that Russell’s eager desire to earn the last merit badge, as part of the Wildlife Explorer Club was to please his father and somehow earn his approval. It is amazing how many people in this world so desperately long to be approved by their fathers. This was poignantly highlighted when they were giving out the badges and all the other boys had their fathers present, while Russell was alone. It is also important to note that all the other boys did not have as many badges as Russell. Somehow Russell thought that by receiving all the badges that a Wildlife Explorer can achieve that his father would love him more and come to the ceremony.

But this did not happen.

Instead, when the badge was about to be given to Russell, Carl joins him on stage, as a surrogate father. Then instead of the “assisting the elderly” badge of honor, Carl gives Russell the pin that was given to him by his late wife, Ellie.

This was a glimpse of the Gospel message.

Thoughts on “Planting Churches in Muslim Cities”

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visuals

 
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Greg Livingstone in his book, “Planting Churches in Muslim Cities” gives some great insights into the whole Islamic landscape and the importance of church planting. Livingstone’s experience with ministry in the Middle East, not only gives credibility to what he is writing about, but he gives very practical advice and solutions to see a more fruitful ministry to the Muslims.

It has always been believed that if a missionary decides to do ministry with the Muslims then they might see their first convert after ten years of labor. This has given a dismal picture of what God can do. Sometimes it is more of an issue with the missionary than God

Livingstone said, “Missionaries do not normally minister with bad motives, but sometimes make bad decisions with good motives. Often the problem is an inability to truly understand the church planting process – not unlike helping a butterfly out of a cocoon and unknowingly consigning it to death.”

But God is doing something.

Livingstone notes that God is raising up a new paradigm to reach Muslims. Rather than having a very individualistic mindset of reaching out to people, Livingstone is proposing that ministry be done in teams. He feels like this is more of a biblical model as we look into the Book of Acts.

It is exciting to read about the importance of the apostolic ministry when it comes to reaching Muslims and even regions influenced by Islam. We have to go beyond the recent avenues of teaching English and even come up with new pathways to build relationships, as well as to bless the city or village.

One big shocker (or shall I say a wake-up call) for me as I was reading this book is how “Asian” the Islamic culture is when it comes to various social customs and mores. I kept on saying to myself, “That is so Korean!”

Then it got me thinking about several things:

1) I am more Western than I would like to confess. Even though at times I pride myself in being bi-cultural, I realized that I might be more Western in my thinking compared to the culture and customs of the Middle East or in Indonesia.

2) We really need more transcultural people to be part of future international church plants in Muslim dominated countries. I think this is where being bi-cultural is very helpful.

3) The Jakarta team will need to train aggressively on learning how to adapt to various cultures. There are a lot of non-Western things that we have to adapt to as well as adopt in order for us to be more effective in sharing the Gospel.

This is a good book to get a person’s mind thinking about doing missions through church planting, especially in areas where it is not easy to stand out as a local church. But God is moving through people who have a Muslim background but converted to the Gospel message. These are the people that are reaching out to their follow Muslim family and friends. There are some powerful testimonies.

These are some of the things that we want to experience as we head out to Indonesia.

Thoughts on “The Kingdom of Christ”

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visuals

 
The Kingdom of Christ.jpg
 
 
 
Over the last 3-4 years I have been really mulling over the whole Kingdom of God theology. As I am visiting the Gospels again and again, I am confronted with the significance and the importance of how the Kingdom theology is interlaced with a lot of Jesus’ teachings.

Not too long ago, I had some stimulating conversations on this book by Russell D. Moore with some of my close friends. His book is probably one of the best books I have read that clearly articulates (albeit at times it is heavy in seminary level discussions) the Kingdom theology both from a historical point of view, as well as from a present emerging discussion from various theological camps.

This book is thoroughly researched. I have never read a book that had one third of its pages filled with endnotes. I guess only a dean of the School of Theology in the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary would do something like this. But it was some incredible reading – the cross references to other sources were invaluable!

The thing that struck me was how there is a movement towards a consensus on the evangelical perspective on the Kingdom of God discussion. It has always been accepted that where you fall in the theological persuasion (Dispensation theology or Covenantal theology), it will affect how you view your role as a Christ-follower or the Church’s role in culture engagement – ranging from politics or social issues.

Moore argues that over the years, the lack of consensus on the Kingdom of God theology within the evangelical circles has weakened and fractured the Church’s ability to engage the culture. I love how Moore pinpoints three areas of contention, which affect how a person sees their calling to engage the culture: Eschatology, Soteriology, and Ecclesiology.

Instead of allowing the differences to separate the Body of Christ, Moore suggests that we need an “emerging evangelical consensus.” He believes that as the “dispensationalist evangelical” and the “covenantalist evangelical” see some of the biblical truths in each other’s perspective, they will come together to make a difference in our generation.

Moore writes, “With the various traditions reexamining their theological presuppositions, a remarkable coalescence has occurred, as evangelical theology has arrived at a Kingdom model that synthesizes these biblical truths, seeing them in harmony with one another… The consensus emerged from the long process of exegetical exploration and theological reflection.” He continues and states that this is a viewpoint which “holds in tension the Kingdom realities of a church truly militant but not yet visibly triumphant. This has clear implications for a theology of evangelical engagement – a theology that has both reachable goals and defined limitations.”

This book has been a catalyst for further thought in the whole Transformasphere Movement. As I try to prepare our people to engage in the various spheres of society, I am realizing that a stronger foundational teaching on the Kingdom of God will be an important piece to the greater vision of transformation.

Thoughts on “The Multi-Site Church Revolution”

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visuals

 
Multi-Site Revolution.jpg
 
 
 
It was great reading up on the whole multi-site revolution that is happening in the churches across the United States, as well as around the world. God is definitely up to something.

This book highlighted various churches are and have become the catalyst for the movement. They also give some practical principles to follow through on. The more I think about it, the way we did the site in Chicago was a bit unconventional. But by God’s grace and with a lot of various factors, it worked for us.

The thought that constantly came to my mind as I was reading this book was – “Isn’t this multi-site church model just a revamping of the biblical principle that worked in the Book of Acts?” When you think about it, the early church, due to persecution did not have church buildings to meet in nor were they able to meet publicly in large meetings. This is why the early church was so viral. They met in their homes and also in smaller gatherings with relationships they had in their neighborhoods and workplaces.

I am wondering if the “multi-site church revolution” is really a 21st century redesign of a 1st century phenomenon. This is the great thing about biblical principles – it transcends time and culture.

It is my prayer that the Gospel will go viral in various university campuses around the world because once we reach the campuses, we will be able to reach the communities. Once we reach the communities, we will be able to reach the cities; and once we reach the cities, we will reach the nations.

Thoughts on “Third Culture Kids”

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visuals

 
Third Culture Kids.gif
 
 
 
I was able to finally finish this book that covered the whole topic of children who are known as Third Culture Kids (TCK). The authors David Pollock and Ruth E. Van Reken define TCKs as, “A TCK is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture. The TCK builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture are assimilated into the TCK’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background.”

In many of my global travels, I have had the privilege of meeting people who fall under this definition. They are people who have a unique background that allow them to move in and out of various cultures. In fact, TCK can be categorized as “transcultural.” They, in a sense “transcend” one particular culture and are able to interact with multiple cultures, which is very difficult for most people to do.

They are also transient, in the sense that they are not locked into one particular culture over another. They move freely from one culture to another, which allows them to adapt quickly to fit into the culture at that particular place and time.

On the flip side, TCK struggle with their identity as they have a hard time finding one culture that they can identify with. This causes them to feel as if they are “different.” But I believe that God is going to redeem the struggles of a TCK and use them as connectors – connecting people and cultures to others.

When you look at the Bible you notice that there were many transcultural people – Joseph, Moses, Esther, Daniel, and Paul to just name a few. God used their backgrounds and experiences for His greater purpose.

With globalization affecting different parts of the world, we have truly become a “global village.” People from different cultures are interacting with people who are from another culture. It is fascinating to see the interactions.

The vision of the Gospel reaching “all peoples” is becoming more of a reality as we see God raising up TCKs who are willing to go to the nations. It is my prayer that God will raise up more “transcultural” people in our church.

Thoughts on “Building a Healthy Multi-ethnic Church”

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visuals

 
Building A Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church.jpg
 
 
 
Ever since 1996, we have been trying to build a multi-ethnic church here in Ann Arbor. To be honest, I knew that it was going to be difficult, but I didn’t know that it was going to be this hard. Human nature tells us that we like things are comfortable and easy; and building a multi-ethnic church is neither comfortable nor easy.

But the more we continued to search the Scriptures we resolutely decided that we want to experience a glimpse of heaven here on earth as we see people from every language and nation gathered together to worship the King of Kings.

With no disrespect to “ethnic” churches, I really feel like there is something more powerful when the world sees a church that is diverse ethnically and culturally. This realization hit home for me again when I was in Chicago last month. During the Christmas season our family went back to Chicago to visit our extended families. Christina and I decided to take our kids to a famous breakfast place (the kind of place where you have to wait hours to be seated).

When we were finally seated, I couldn’t help but to notice that in our section of the restaurant (we were placed in a back room) how diverse the people. But the problem was that we were all sitting in clusters. The White folks had their table. The black folks were right behind us. The Latino folks were at two tables in front of us. Then you had the Asian folks (us). I couldn’t help but to observe (a favorite pastime of mine) how diverse this room was but yet how separated we were. It was hard to explain but it just made me think about the Church.

In the secular world it is expected that there is prejudice and racism since their worldview does not necessary dictate the belief of the imago dei. But to see it in the church, it makes you wonder if we are not different that people who have not experience the Gospel of Jesus.

I brought up the observation with Christina and asked her, “what would it be like if we all were inter-mingled and we genuinely loved each other even though we are all so different?” (I was so tempted to stand up and share my observations with all of the 30 or 35 people in that room).

This is why this book really struck a chord with me. Pastor Mark DeYmaz shared their journey, both personally and as a church, in trying to become a multi-ethnic church. He starts off by rooting everything in Scripture with the prayer of Jesus for unity in John 17. Then he moved towards the Book of Acts.

DeYmaz lists 7 core commitments which are crucial in building a healthy multi-ethnic church. They are:

1) Embrace Dependence – knowing that unity is a supernatural work of the Spirit and otherwise contradictory to the natural ways and means of man.

 

2) Take Intentional Steps – to establish and maintain a multi-racial church in which no single racial group represents more than 80% of the congregation.

 

3) Empower Diverse Leadership – at all levels of leadership throughout the church.

 

4) Develop Cross-Cultural Relationships – with others of their church outside of Sunday morning.

 

5) Pursue Cross-Cultural Competence – beyond mere awareness of or sensitivity to other cultures different than their own.

 

6) Promote a Spirit of Inclusion – integrating diverse cultural forms and expressions of faith into the corporate worship experience.

 

7) Mobilize for Impact – acting upon their unique credibility and possibilities for extending the love of God to all people, both at home and abroad, in pursuit of social justice and spiritual transformation.

These are core components that HMCC has to continue to recommit to on a regular basis. Even the road is long and difficult, it is just more fun eating pancakes and corn beef hash with people who represent a face of heaven in the future.

You can check out Pastor Mark DeYmaz’s blog for some more insights.

Thoughts on “Renovation of the Heart”

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visuals

 
Renovation of the Heart.jpg
 
 
 
God has graciously brought this book into my hands at this season of my life. There are different types of books that I enjoy reading, but God sovereignly directed me to Dallas Willard’s book, which I am thankful. As I start off, I will make a bold statement and say that this is probably one of the best books on the topic of spiritual formation. I am not the only one with this opinion and assessment.

Willard says so many familiar things in a fresh way that it really challenged me to think differently about discipleship, spiritual disciplines, and becoming more Christ-like. He states, “The human spirit is an inescapable, fundamental aspect of every human being; and it takes on whichever character it has form the experiences and the choices that we have lived through or made in our past. That is what it means for it to be ‘formed.’”

So many of our hearts have been “formed” by the things that we have gone through in our lives, but this is where the power of the Gospel comes in. When we surrender our lives to Christ and give Him permission to rule and reign, He will start transforming our hearts into the likeness of Christ.

Willard addresses the various aspect of a human being and he talks about how the heart, mind, will and even social relations need to be radical transformed. It is not the usual approach about praying harder or reading more Bible.

The book was hard to put down. At every turn of the page, there was some new insight to a familiar principle or situation. This book inspired me and reminded me of the importance of spiritual formation and how growing in Christ and seeing Christ-likeness takes not only time but devotion and commitment to the process. But above all, it is the grace of God.

Willard says, “It is the central point of this book that spiritual transformation only happens as each essential dimension of the human being is transformed to Christlikeness under the direction of a regenerate will interacting with constant overtures of grace from God.”

Thoughts on “Muslim Evangelism”

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visuals

 
Muslim Evangelism.jpg
 
 
 
After my trip out to Indonesia and Malaysia, God really spoke to me about my ignorance about the Islamic faith and the Muslim people. It is interesting that no matter how many theological classes you have taken in seminary about world religions, there is a difference between head knowledge and practical knowledge.

I received Phil Parshall book by one of my former HMCC members who is now back in Indonesia (the largest Muslim populated country in the world). Parshall, in some ways is like the godfather of Muslim missions.

I have read a lot of academic books on the Islam faith, but for some reason this book was different. There is a huge difference when a person writes a book academically with just head knowledge compared to when a person writes a book from years of missionary experience. I was able to notice the difference right away.

This book was written in 2003 so in some ways it is still fresh. But so much has happened in the Islamic landscape especially with what is going on in Iraq. This is a must read for anyone who has a burden for Muslims or who wants to do Muslim missions in the future.

The major issue that Parshall covers is the issue of contextualization. In various seminaries and missions organizations there are some theological discussions about how to do evangelism in the Muslim world. Not everyone agrees with the various methods, but the importance of it is beginning to bring people together for dialoguing and strategizing.

God used this book to open up my eyes to the Muslim worldview and how there are so many different bridges Christians can make that might be easily overlooked. This book also exposed some of my own prejudices of how ought to be when it comes to witnessing to Muslims.

After giving some more thought and reflection, one thing that the Lord impressed on my heart is that God needs to raise up a special generation of Christians in order to evangelize to the Muslim world. When you look into the Muslim’s worldview of holiness, you start to realize why they hate the West so much. Also, when they look at Christians and how little reverence they have for their Christian God it is almost laughable for the Muslim.

Due to their works mentality in their relationship with Allah, it is hard for them to look at a Christian who preach grace that does not produce holiness.

I am wondering if the type of Christians who will be able to minister to the Muslims will be people who are radical in their faith (even willing to die for it), live in holiness and possess an unconditional love that cannot be explained by human terms.

But the problem that I see that there is a smug current that flows in the Church in the United States. There are people who disguise their comfortable and self-made Christianity under the banner of grace. Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book, “Cost of Discipleship” explains,

“Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church. We are fighting today for costly grace. Cheap grace means grace as a doctrine, a principle, a system. It means forgiveness of sins proclaimed as a general truth, the love of God taught as the Christian ‘conception’ of God…
 
Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. Grace alone does everything they say, and so everything can remain as it was before. ‘All for sin could not atone.’ Well, then, let the Christian live like the rest of the world, let him model himself on the world’s standards in every sphere of life, and not presumptuously aspire to live a different life under grace from his old life under sin. That was the heresy of the enthusiasts…
 
The call goes forth, and is at once followed by the response of obedience… Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ. It remains an abstract idea, a myth which has a place for the Fatherhood of God, but omits Christ as the living Son… There is trust in God, but no following of Christ…
 
He wants to follow, but feels obliged to insist on his own terms to the level of human understanding. The disciple places himself at the Master’s disposal, but at the same time retains the right to dictate his own terms. But then discipleship is no longer discipleship, but a program of our own to be arranged to suit ourselves, and to be judged in accordance with the standards of rational ethic.”

It is my prayer that God will raise up radical Christian who are committed to radical discipleship. This is the only way we will be able to gain respect and a hearing from the Muslims. Lord, may this be the standard and not the anomaly!

Thoughts on “The Difference Maker”

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visuals

 
The Difference Maker.jpg
 
 
 
There are two groups of people when it comes to attitude – one that carries a bucket of gasoline and another that carries a bucket of water. Depending on the circumstance, some people either stoke the fire of optimism burn brightly or they eradicate it quickly.

I think we all have met people that make a difference through their attitudes. They are the kind of people who constantly see the cup half-full rather than half-empty. They are the “can-do” people in any situation. They are usually contagious people to be around because they stir up the fire of optimism in our own hearts.

John Maxwell, who has taught on leadership for more than a quarter of a century, constantly draws attention to this factor of attitude in a lot of his leadership materials. If leaders are the thermostat of any group then their attitude will determine how other people will respond in a particular situation.

He mentions that there are the “Big Five Attitude Obstacles” that everybody faces: discouragement, change, problems, fear, and failure. The way we handle any one of these five obstacles shows us about our attitudes.

Here are some phrases that I highlighted from this book:

• People always project on the outside what they feel on the inside.

• Your attitude colors every aspect of your life. It is like the mind’s paintbrush.

• Poor self-image and poor attitudes often walk hand in hand. It’s hard to see anything in the world as positive if you see yourself as negative.

• Every thought you have shapes your life.

• My attitude in the areas that I do control will be the difference maker

• The happiest people in life don’t necessarily have the best of everything. They just try to make the best of everything.

• Life often gives you whatever you expect from it.

• Every challenge has an opportunity. And every opportunity has a challenge. A person’s attitude determines how she handles those.

• Because your attitude is your emotional approach to life… it’s the framework through which you see events, other people, even yourself.

The one phrase that stuck out for me was – “Most of the great work in this world was done by men and women who didn’t believe that what they were doing was impossible.”

When I think about history-makers and those who have transformed different parts of the world, they were people who believed that nothing is impossible. The Christians who made a difference were people who believed in a Great God who is able to do great things.

As we make the investment in our attitude, we will slowly see how powerful it really is in our daily lives.

Thoughts on “The Missional Leader”

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visuals

 
The Missional Leader.jpg
 
 
 
There have been a lot of talk on the topic of “being missional.” It is exciting to hear about churches that are living out their calling as the “church.” In the Greek, the church is known as the “ekklesia.” It is made up of two words “ek” (out of) and “klesis” (calling). The word, “klesis” comes from the root word, “kaleo” which means “to call.” Therefore, the church is to “be the called out one” who is suppose to “be calling out.”

This is why when Peter wrote, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Pe 2:9-10), we are reminded of our calling as the church.

But like with all things, everything rises and falls with leadership. This book addresses more of the issue of leadership within the missional movement. There are plenty of books and articles on the topic of “being a missional church,” but not too many on missional leadership.

This is why Roxburgh’s and Romanuk’s book adds value to the whole missional movement. They go over some of the key character traits of a missional leader which I found to be fairly helpful. It is interesting that no matter what context the topic of leadership is talked about (business, church, sports, missional, etc), there are always familiar character traits that we cannot avoid.

Great movements always have great leaders. God uses leaders to sustain the movement by His Spirit. As the 21st century church is trying to go back to its 1st century roots (the book of Acts) the need for better leaders will be evident.

It is my prayer that we will be focused on raising better leaders rather than trying to come up with better organizational methods.

Thoughts on “The Urban Face of Missions”

Author: sethskim  |  Category: Visuals

 
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This book just confirmed a lot of things that were running through my mind in the last few years. Throughout my travels, I have noticed that the urban cities in the international scene were playing an important role in that particular country.

Due to globalization and other factors, the cities around the world are becoming ripe for missions. They international cities are becoming more diverse and progressive. I saw this first hand in Shanghai, Jakarta, Kula Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City, and Nairobi to just name a few.

This book was a tribute to Harvie M. Conn, a former professor at Westminster Theological Seminary who had a great passion for the city and the Kingdom of God. All the contributors in this book had a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to urban ministry.

The more we study the Bible and the important role that various cities had in God’s redemptive purposes, it begins to put a great burden for the cities around us. There is a good prospect to the city’s role in missions and world evangelization. There are challenges as well. Issues such as diversity, injustice and poverty add to the complexities. But as the world is getting more global, there is a great need for us to understand the role of the city.

What would it be like to see a church being planted in an international city (outside of the U.S.) where people can experience the same transformation as we are experiencing here in Ann Arbor and Chicago?

It might be worth the risks.