Dec 31, 2009

Last Blog Entry of the Year

Last blog of the year.

It's been a heck of a year.

  • Started out with my son being in hospitalized for 5 days starting on New Year's day
  • I had a quadruple bypass surgery and was out for ten weeks
  • had one of the toughest and challenging years as a pastor
But through it all, God has proven to be more than faithful. I have come to trust in God more than ever before. Love my wife and kids more than ever before. Appreciate life and every day as a gift.

I know that God has a plan and purpose for my life. If God wanted to take me home he would have.

I am looking forward to what God has in store for me in 2010. It will be the start of a new decade, a new ministry at Little Church in Lakewood, Washington, and another opportunity to get better at leading.

Thank you Lord for your faithfulness. Thank you for giving me the gift of eternal life and the gift of life.

Happy New Years everyone!

Dec 26, 2009

An American Christmas Experience: The Consequence of Abundance

Merry Christmas!

I trust you had a wonderful Christmas.

Had an interesting conversation with my dad on Christmas evening. My dad grew up in Korea during the Korean War and through the hard times after the war. He tells stories of the times when he was so hungry he had to eat the bark and leaves of trees and even grass just to fill his stomach.

As he sat watching my nieces open up present after present of toys and more toys on top of the many toys they already have and they don't use, he just shook his head. When he was a child, if he received anything, he was so incredibly grateful because they had so little. But these kids, although they have so much, know nothing about gratitude and appreciating what they have because they have so much.

And then dad said, that's like America. We have been given so much and there is so much abundance, that we have lost the ability to appreciate gifts and be grateful for what we are given. So when it comes to the gift of Jesus in Christmas, because we have so much, because we are so self-sufficient, we don't appreciate what God's given us. We don't know how to be grateful. And the tragedy of the abundance is that we have lost the ability to be grateful.

And so we hear about the gift of Jesus - how he gave up heaven to come to us in the form of a child to be born in a manger - and we're more concerned with what's coming up on tv and what movie we're going to watch than to thank the God who has given us life.

So friends, before another moment goes by, take a moment right now to reflect on the gift of Jesus and remember to thank God for the gift of eternal life.

Merry Christmas!

Dec 22, 2009

X-Mas? What's the Deal with X-Mas?

Several people have asked about the meaning of X-mas. What's the deal with X-mas? Shouldn't it be Christmas and not x-mas?

The origins of x-mas and xians actually comes from the original Greek. As you know, the New Testament was written in Greek.

X is the Greek character "chi" which is equivalent to our letter "C".

The Greek word for Christ is "xristos". So when you see X-mas or xians, it is a shorthand for Christmas or Christians.

Now you know.

So whether you write Merry Christmas or Merry X-mas, it is Jesus Christ we are celebrating. And as long as Jesus is the One being celebrated, it truly is a Merry Christmas!

Dec 21, 2009

From Frustration to Motivation for Change

It has been interesting - to say the least- to watch all the conversations going on about my recent post. Thank you all for your passion.

Here's the thing. I am the first to admit that I am not an expert about growing healthy churches. However, what I can affirm is that there is something in me that wants to scream - there's something wrong about the way we're currently doing and being church. When Christ has given to every single church everything we need to unleash grace, love, and power on our communities, when Christ has given us everything we need to be the church that impacts and touches the world for the grace of Jesus Christ, and when our churches are not living up to their potential, we know it to the core of our being that this can't be what Jesus had in mind when he declared, "Against such a church the gates of hell shall not prevail."

So channel the passion and frustration into positive motivation for change. For the church must change in order to be the church God has called us to be. We cannot keep doing the things the same way as we've always done things. In order for things to change, things must change.

And it is because this is my dream and passion - to see the church being the church that God intends her to be, I will keep on dreaming, keep on hoping, keep on writing, and keep on leading the best I can to live into such a vision.

God has a plan for Trinity. And God's plan for Trinity for "our welfare and not for harm, to give us a future with hope" (Jer. 29:11).

Wherever God may find us, I pray that God is glorified, that others can see in our speech, our actions, and in how we love one another the glory of the risen Christ.

God bless you all and Merry Christmas!

James <><

Dec 19, 2009

Becoming a Healthy Church

So here's what I'm wondering about. What kind of leadership is needed to bring about a renewal and revival to the Presbyterian Church (USA)? What needs to happen so that our churches can get healthy and grow?

We make the solution to these questions much more complicated than it needs to be.

The other day I was having a conversation with Karis about world hunger. She asked a really simple question: If we have the food, medicine, money, and resources to alleviate abject poverty and starvation, then why aren't we doing it?

At first, I thought about all the political and economic reasons why this isn't being done - how the food gets where the hungry people are, but because of corruption and violence at the local level the ones who really need the food and medicine don't get it. But, the question still remains - what is wrong with us? Why can't we do a simple thing like preserving the life and dignity of a human being when we have the ability to do so?

How come we can put a man on the moon and bring him back, but we can't get food safely to people dying in Africa?

And maybe when it comes to the life of the church, the answer to the question of becoming a healthier church really is simple. The equation has always been to 1) do everything we can to grow new Christ-followers, and 2) do whatever it takes to grow Christ-followers into fully devoted disciples of Jesus Christ. That's what the church is all about. That is the goal, that is our purpose, that is the product we are trying to produce. For it is when the church is doing that the God is glorified.

So what can the church I am doing to grow new Christ-followers and to grow faithful disciples. Our budget, staffing, planning, visioning has to be about this purpose. And when we start doing this better, the church will be healthier. And when the church starts being the church, the world which churches are in get better.

Dec 18, 2009

Avatar - Don't Waste your Time or Money

Just got back from watching Avatar. I went to the movies with huge expectations because I had heard so much about it. I am telling you up front, don't waste your time or money to see this movie. Instead, do yourself a favor and wait for it on video if you really want to see it.

There are several huge issues with the movie.
1) It's too long. That might not be such a bad thing if the movie was good. But since this isn't a good movie, that it's almost three hours long, makes it that much more unbearable.
2) There's something wrong when the heroes of the movie are the aliens and the villains are the human beings. The movie actually makes you root for the aliens to kill the humans. I don't know about you, but there's something fundamentally wrong about that. What is it about the liberal media that makes us loathe ourselves? In the movie, human beings are stupid, greedy, selfish, violent killers, while the aliens are the kind, caring, loyal, accepting, and everything that you would want human beings to be.

I am not sure what James Cameron is trying to say, but I can't help but think that he was taking a jab at America with all its might and military. I don't know what it is about the liberal media that insists on making America look bad and the military look like idiot thugs with big guns. Knock it off!

About the only thing I can say positive about the movie was that the computer graphics and special effects are well done.

So I give Avatar a 1 out of 5. The only reason why it's getting even the 1 is because of the special effects. I think there are far better ways to spend your time and money than wasting it on this movie. If you really want to see it, wait for Red Box to start carrying it for a buck. It might be worth a buck.

Dec 17, 2009

Sadness on a Whole New Level

By now, I've become accustomed to bad news. I know that the world can be painful and sometimes the world just sucks.

But every once in a while I come across a story that is so sad and bizarre that it takes sadness to a whole new level.

This is one of those stories. Fox News reports (,2933,580479,00.html?test=latestnews) that a 4 year-old boy was found walking around by himself at night, drinking beer, while wearing a girl's dress that he had stolen from the neighbor's Christmas tree!

And when the mom was interviewed, the explanation that the mom gave was that the boy's dad is in jail and the boy wanted to get in trouble so he could see his dad.

What do you do with a story like that? I couldn't make up a more bizarre and a sadder more pathetic story than this. And it's happening in real life.

Friends, you and I live in a world wrecked by sin, selfishness, and irresponsibility. We all need to change. We need to be better people.

This is why Christ came into our world. He did not show up some fancy palace. He chose a place very few would have chosen on their own. Jesus came in order that all of us might discover life.

May this Christmas season be a reminder of how much we all need what only God can provide through his Son, Jesus Christ.

Just for Fun - Funny Statements

  1. A day without sunshine is,, night.
  2. On the other hand, you have different fingers.
  3. Remember, half the people you know are below average.
  4. He who laughs last thinks slowest
  5. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
  6. How may of you believe in telekinesis? Raise my hand.
  7. Honk if you love peace and quiet.

Dec 14, 2009

Invictus - Review

Invictus is a movie about the story of how one man's stand against injustice and hatred and a rugby world championship against all odds brought a nation together and started the healing process of a nation torn asunder by apartheid.
The movie is what you would expect - the South African Rugby team wins the world cup. But you knew that going into the movie. What you may not have known is the political atmosphere and the incredible challenge Nelson Mandela faced when he became the first black president in South Africa.

I spent some time in South Africa as a college student while Mandela was being held in jail. Words alone cannot explain the incredible injustice of the apartheid system and how it dehumanized the coloreds and the blacks. When I came back from South Africa, I was convinced that there would be a bloody civil war because of the tension between the whites and the blacks.

No other man had a greater impact for the peaceful transition of white South Africa to a multi-cultural South Africa than Nelson Mandela. The debate is still on about his effectiveness as a politician, but no one can doubt that he was exactly the right man to transition South Africa out of apartheid. No other man could have done what he did.

The movie only shows a glimpse of that incredible story. That doesn't mean this is a bad movie. It's just you cannot tell that big of a story in a movie. The movie is entertaining - although it does take a while to develop the story in the beginning. Although I am a big sports fan, because I don't know much about rugby, the many rugby clips didn't do much for me.  I just love the story.

The only thing I did not like was Morgan Freeman's attempt at a South African accent. I thought Matt Damon's accent wasn't bad, but did not care for Morgan Freeman's.

I still would give this movie a 2.5-3 stars out of five. It's well worth your money and time just to get familiar with the story of Mandela and South Africa. But more for the power of forgiveness and hope.

Dec 13, 2009

It's Official

Announced my resignation as the pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church today at church today. After more than seven incredible years at Trinity, Jan. 10 will be my last Sunday in the pulpit as the pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church.

It's always a strange thing to announce that you'll be moving on. There's both the excitement of the new chapter in life and the great sorrow of having to say goodbye to some amazing people.

It has been a great privilege to work with the good people at Trinity in the last seven years. God's done some amazing things. We've had our tough times too, but they won't ever overshadow the good times and the great friendships and partnerships established here at Trinity.

The toughest part of a transition like this is the people. The Kim family will miss the good people and friends at Trinity very much.

My prayer is that God will rally Trinity together so that the community can once again see God doing great and awesome things through Trinity.

God bless you all. Prayers are greatly appreciated for both the Trinity family and the Kim family in this transition.

James <><
twitter @jameskimtpc
Sent via BlackBerry

Dec 11, 2009

The Blind Side - The Movie and the Book

I am not a big fan of Christian based movies mainly because Christian based movies have not been very good.

There have been a few exceptions - Shadowlands (The story of C.S. Lewis) is a fantastic movie with very good acting, the Chronicles of Narnia was pretty entertaining.

With "The Blind Side" I've now got a new favorite Christian movie. I would not hesitate recommending this movie to either a non-Christian or a Christian. It's an engaging story with wonderfully talented and gifted actors. I've seen the movie two times already - first with my wife, and then second time with my girls because I wanted to take my children.

I've always appreciated Sandra Bullock as an actress. Never thought that she was great, but she wasn't bad either. But in The Blind Side she shines. It's not just her, but all the characters in the movie are believable.

The thing I like best about this movie is that the story is true. I've just finished the book and also have done some research on the internet, and the whole thing is spot on. It's a wonderful story of faith in action.

I highly recommend that you go check out the movie and the book.

Dec 10, 2009

Duh! Work Together!!!

God can do more with churches who work together than with churches who work in isolation.

I don't know of a single Christian who would disagree with that statement.

Then the obvious question is - "Why aren't our churches working together?"
  • It's not like we've all been doing such an excellent job of making new disciples and helping them become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ that we don't need all of the other churches.
  • It's not as if all of our churches combined have been making a significant impact in our communities, our country, and our world for the Kingdom of God.
  • More and more, the church is losing its voice, and the Christian world view is both the unpopular and the minority view.
All this while most of our churches no where near capacity.

Wouldn't it make more sense for churches with common mission, vision, and ministry styles to combine their resources of time, talents, finances, facilities to have greater impact for Jesus Christ?

Yet, if you look at  the church's constitutions and by-laws, it makes it all but impossible for churches to work together.

For instance, in our community, there is another church that Trinity shares much in common in terms of our mission, vision, and ministry styles. We are Presbyterian and they are Wesleyan. We are not anywhere close to being filled to capacity while the Wesleyan church is currently looking for a place to purchase.

Why should the Wesleyans purchase a building and get stuck with all the payments, when there are less than full churches within five minutes driving distance who share a common ministry, mission, vision, and ministry styles? Why couldn't our ministries come together to do greater ministry for God? The combined resources time, talents, and finances of could have far greater impact for Jesus in this community than any of our churches in isolation. This is just smart kingdom stewardship.

This is all good in theory, but when it comes to dollars and cents, that's when the denominations start presenting problems. What denomination would this new church be? Who owns the assets?

The real simple answer is Jesus Christ!!!! Not the PC(USA), not the Wesleyans. It's Jesus Christ. And if this can further ministry, then denominations ought to release their stranglehold on property and assets.

This is the type of flexibility needed in for a missional church.

Dec 9, 2009

The People Who Get in the Way

I said in yesterday's blog that God will place people in our way.

And that's exactly what these interruptions will feel like. Christmas season a wonderful time for friends, family, and celebrations. But it is also a time of traffic, stress, shopping, and busyness.

As you encounter people today, remember that there's not a single person alive today who has received too much encouragement, too much love, too much grace.

And what that means is that every single person we meet today are people we can encourage. So take the time - be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to the people who He leads you to. Treat every person you meet today with dignity and respect. Treat them as if God placed them in your way.

Merry Christmas!

James <><
twitter @jameskimtpc
Sent via BlackBerry

Dec 8, 2009

God Appointments

These are busy times.

As wonderful and fun the Christmas season is, it is also one of the busiest and most hectic times of the year.

Today, and in the coming days, we are going to come across lots and lots of people. And I am sure we're all going to be busy trying to get there from here in order to get that for that person and still need to get all those things for those people because we have to get to all those parties and celebrations.

It's just a busy time of the year.

But I ask you to remember - God will place people in our way who desperately need what only those who are tuned into what God is doing can give - grace, time, encouragement, friendship, acceptance.

Don't miss out on a God moment. The presents will still be there, the parties will still go on, and we'll have plenty of opportunities to get to wherever we were supposed to get to.

Remember that God has set apart God appointments during this season for you and for those who need for God to act through a person just like you.

Dec 7, 2009

Waiting and listening

It has been a while since I've posted anything. There's a lot going on. God's been working on my heart. Been doing my best to listen and discern God's will for my life for the next chapter of my life. I will be posting updates soon. But for now, I covet your prayers. As you read this post, lift up a prayer for me for discernment.

Thank you in advance for your prayers.

James <><
twitter @jameskimtpc
Sent via BlackBerry

Dec 1, 2009

Just Imagine - What Would Happen if We Caught the Passion for Evangelism?

A passion for evangelism...

Our Daily Bread wrote about Francis Asbury on Nov. 25. Here's an excerpt:

Francis Asbury rode 6,000 miles a year on horseback for nearly half a century. Despite ill health, he drove himself tirelessly. He sustained himself with venison jerky—a food that wouldn’t spoil during his extended travels. Asbury is remembered for introducing the Methodist “circuit-riding preacher” as an effective way to capture the American frontier for Christ. Planting new churches in remote areas was central to his approach.

At the close of Asbury’s ministry, he had recruited over 700 traveling preachers. In 1771, when Asbury arrived in the colonies, there were only about 600 Methodists in America. Forty-five years later, there were 200,000!

That's awesome!

But check this out. At the signing of the Declaration of the Independence in 1776, the population of the colonies was about 2.5 million. That means, through the efforts of Asbury, in his lifetime about 10% of the population of the United States became Methodists in America.

That's awesome!

What would it take in today's world for God to impact the lives of people like that? If we can impact 10% of the population of the US today, it would mean 35 million people coming to know Christ through evangelism in my lifetime. How cool would that be?

The question is, what would it take today to share the gospel effectively? What sacrifice is needed from people like you and me?

And most importantly, are we willing to make such sacrifices for the sake of the gospel?