Jan 30, 2010

Stop Crying and Whining and Just Get Moving

"Then the Lord Said to Moses, 'Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.'" Ex. 14:15.

This exchange between God and Moses took place as the Israelites were freaking out because Pharaoh's army was chasing after them and the Red Sea was in front of them blocking their way.

After hearing the prayers and seeing the people freaking out God tells them simply, "Stop crying and whining and get moving!"

I think there are times we get so bogged down by our troubles and the challenges we face in life that we become paralyzed.

Look, if you know that it's God's will, if you know that it is right, if you know that God has promised it, if you know what you need to do, then stop complaining, whining, crying, worrying. Move out! God and do what you know to be right. Get moving.

  • You know you ought to forgive that person? DO IT!
  • You know you ought to ask for forgiveness? DO IT!
  • You ought to give more, serve more, do more? DO IT!
  • You ought to work on your character and integrity and holiness? DO IT!
  • You ought to...whatever it is that God has confirmed to you...DO IT!
Get moving. Stop crying and whining. Just do it!

Jan 29, 2010

Day 5 of Travel Adventures to Lakewood


After over 2700 miles of driving, I drove into Lakewood this evening at around 6:30pm PST.

It feels so good to be out of the car. I don't know how truck drivers do it. They must have a butt massager in their seats because mine's pretty sore after sitting for four days in the driver's seat!

I've moved all my personal items into the studio apartment that Carole, Ted, Lavonne found for me. I thought I was going to have to sleep on the floor with my sleeping bag but the new place is more than I could have hoped for.

Here are some pics of the studio apartment.

Pretty nice wouldn't you say?

God is good!

The next thing on the to-do-list is to get my office set up at church. But that's going to take some time as most of my books are still back home in the garage and will not be making the trip until we sell the house.

Already missing the family, but that goes without saying.

Looking forward to all that God has in store for the Kim family and for the Little Church family.

Thank you God!

Jan 28, 2010

Day 4 of Travel Adventures to Lakewood

Not much to report today. Which is a good thing.

Been on the road all day. Checked into the motel this evening at 10pm. My wife booked me a room at the Candlewood Suites in Medford. It's a whole lot better than the room I stayed in Albuquerque. I plan on sleeping in and taking my time to drive into Lakewood. I should arrive in Lakewood sometime late afternoon or early evening. Can't wait to arrive "home". It feels like I've been on the road fo eva.

See you soon Lakewood.


Jan 27, 2010

Day 3 of Travel Adventures to Lakewood

The Acura has been fixed. We thought the problem was a water pump, but with further work, it was discovered that the reason why the car sounded so terrible was because of the clutch. My uncle the mechanic, ordered the part and fixed it.

The car is loaded and ready to go.

Not much happened today, but had a wonderful day just relaxing and visiting with my parents.

Spent the morning catching up on email. Then visited Helen's parents and hung out with them. It only took them about 30 seconds to remind me of how much weight I've gained since the surgery and how I need to get the weight back off! Lol! Yes, I know. I need to get back on a stricter regimen of exercise and diet.

So that pretty much sums up my time on Day 3.

I will be getting back on the road in the morning and start heading North on I-5. I'm going to be on I-5 a long time.


Follow along on twitter @jameskimlcop. I will be updating on my day.

Jan 26, 2010

Day 2 of Travel Adventures to Lakewood

Made it to my parents place in Seal Beach. Made great time.

Had a great day of traveling. Here are the highlights of the day.

You get what you pay for
I decided to save some money and checked into one of the least expensive motels I could find in Albuquerque. I succeeded in finding such a motel. However, along with the nice room came a very incredibly noisy heater. When I first turned on the heater I thought it was loud. But when I was trying to sleep and the heater would kick on, it sounded like a freight train in the room. I woke up at least 8 times during the night. To say the least, I did not get a good night's sleep. Ergo - you get what you pay for.

Next time, listen to the wife and spend the little extra money and stay at a nicer place.

Who knew?

I was absolutely shocked to find winter wonderland in Flagstaff, Arizona. There was piled up several feet high every where. I could not believe the amount of snow. For at least a hundred miles, I drove through winter wonderland.

Uh oh!
Krrrrrrr. Grind, grind, grind. My car started making a funny sound in Flagstaff. I wasn't sure if I would make it the rest of the almost 500 miles to LA. The car is still running great but it makes a really ugly grinding noise whenever I start it up and when it comes to a stop. Will be taking it my uncle who is a mechanic. Nice to know a mechanic who happens to be my uncle!

That's pretty much it for now. I plan on sleeping in so I can be ready for the drive up to Lakewood. Lord willing, I should be leaving Seal Beach Thursday.


Jan 25, 2010

Day 1 of Travels to Lakewood

Made it to Albuquerque, NM.

The quickest route would have been Texas-Oklahoma-Kansas-Colorado-Wyoming-Utah-Idaho-Oregon-Washington. 
View Larger MapBut notice what most of those states have in common in late January? That's right. Lots of winter weather.

When I checked the road conditions and weather updates for these states it looked like a lot of cold weather with a chance of some ugly weather. So instead of chancing getting stuck or driving like a slug on icy conditions, I decided to take the long route Texas-Oklahoma-New Mexico-Arizona-California-Oregon-Washington.
View Larger Map

As a bonus, I get to hang out with my folks for a day in Cali. That's not so bad.

So, I made it to Albuquerque where I will be sleeping for the night. And then it's back on the highways as I still have about 750 miles to go.

Highlight of the trip so far - Chinese food in Amarillo, TX. It wasn't that bad. Actually, it was pretty darn good.

More to come.

My Final Blog from My home in Dallas

I should be sleeping.

It's late.

I have to drive at least 800 miles tomorrow.

I know all these things yet sleep is the last thing on my mind.

I was fine with the idea of leaving my wife and kids behind until the house sells, but now that the moment is finally here, I don't want to close my eyes. I don't know when I'm going to see them again. I don't know if I will my house as my house. It's all kind of strange.

I know that this is what God wants for me. I know this the right thing. My mind knows all this but my heart is still misses my family.

When I compare this to the missionaries who left for foreign lands not knowing if they would ever see their loved ones again, this is nothing. I know that I will see my family again in a few months.

So that's what I'm counting on - the promioses of God and knowing that I will see my family again.

God, bless my family while I am away from them. Surround them with your presence and your grace. Amen.
James <><
twitter @JamesKimLCOP
Sent via BlackBerry

Jan 21, 2010

What It Means to be a Missional Church: Putting the Ministry and the Mission of Jesus Christ Above Any Other Priority

One of the main questions mainline denominations like the Presbyterian Church (USA) is facing is "How can denominations turn around its decades long pattern of losing membership and influence?"

There has been much written about what needs to happen and what needs to change. While I see much value in the writing that has gone before me, I wonder if the solution really is as simple as "How can we help every congregation and every Christ-follower become better at accomplishing the ministry and the mission of Jesus Christ?"

At the core, I think this is what it means to be a missional church - where we put the mission and the ministry of Jesus Christ above any other priority. And just as our book of Order declares "The Church is called to undertake this mission even at the risk of losing its life, trusting in God alone as the author and giver of life, sharing the gospel, and doing those deeds in the world that point beyond themselves to the new reality in Christ." G-3.0400.

Perhaps, our main concern ought not be what happens or doesn't happen with denominations, but more with what needs to happen in local congregations to proclaim the love of Jesus Christ more effectively. All systems and structures ought to serve the local church to be more effective in the ministry and the mission of Jesus Christ. When the systems and structures no longer serve that purpose, then those structures are no longer necessary. And, perhaps, when that (how congregations can be more effective in accomplishing the ministry and the mission of Jesus Christ) becomes the main the concern for churches, the growth of denominations will take care of themselves.

Jan 20, 2010

The Book of Eli - Hmmmmmmmm

Just got done watching The Book of Eli with my wife tonight.

Now, mind you, I was really looking forward to this movie. Danzel Washington is one of my favorite actors and I love action flicks. And the previews I had seen of the movie looked like there was going to be some awesome action sequences in the movie.

So here's what I think about "The Book of Eli" - I am not sure what to think about "The Book of Eli."

On the one hand, I think it's great that Hollywood would produce a movie with such strong Biblical themes. This movie has a higher view of God's word than some sermons I've heard from preachers these days.

But on the other hand, I thought the movie was boring and way too violent - and this is coming from a guy who enjoys watching action flicks.

On the one hand, I can't remember a movie where a preacher guy can get more illustrations and quotes from than this movie.

But on the other hand, the story is bizarre and and borders on the ridiculous. I particularly hated the ending because it makes no sense. I know it's only a movie, but come on! At least make it believable. If you don't want to know what happens at the end of the movie stop reading now.

How could all those people possibly have lived for more than 30 years on Alcatraz? Where did they get the food? Water? Clothes?

So at the end of the movie, I sat there in the theater really wanting to like it because I'm a Christian and a pastor. But I found myself really dissatisfied. It was as if I ate a full course meal that was totally bland and to top it off it left me totally hungry.

So there you have it. There are things I really loved about it, and at the same time, I don't think it's a very good movie. I don't want to say it was lousy. It wasn't terrible. It's just not very good.

Jan 18, 2010

The Kim's Adventure to the Pacific Northwest

Just got home from Lakewood.

It was a wonderful trip in so many ways:
  • We got to finally meet the people of Little Church and my kids love it!
  • We saw where I would be living until my family moves up with me and my family loved it! In fact, they wanted to move into my new studio apartment!
  • We saw where I would be working and my family loved it!
  • The kids got to see where they would be worshiping and the city they would be living in and they loved it!
  • My family got to hang out with my friends, their children, and all their cousins and uncles and aunts and they loved it!
  • We got to stay with the Northcutts and my family loved it!
It was a great trip.

And to top it all off, we got to fly home direct and arrive earlier than scheduled because of a nice man at American Airlines counter in Seattle! We were supposed to fly on Alaska Air to Orange County and then connect to a flight to Dallas and arrive at 11:30pm but, the nice man put us on a direct flight to Dallas from Seattle. It meant that we had to wait at the airport for a few more hours but we would get to Dallas earlier than scheduled.

All in all, it was an awesome trip.

I am so glad that the Little Church wanted my entire family up for this past weekend. Whereas my kids were a little apprehensive about the move before the trip, now they can't wait to move up to Lakewood as a family. And the people at Little Church were so awesome! They made my wife and kids feel right at home. We are all excited about the new start that God has in store for us.

Now I have a few days with the family and then it's off to the races!

Thank you God for an incredible weekend.

Jan 16, 2010

The Kims are in Lakewood

It's been a whirlwind week. Can't believe it's already Saturday evening.

Helen and I have been working feverishly to get our house ready to put on the market. The realtor was to come by and take pictures of our house for the web site on Thursday so that gave us four days to get the house ready. It was four days of painting, caulking, fixing, and cleaning the house. We couldn't have done it without the help of our dear friends, Stephen and Becky Howard. They were huge in helping us fix up the house.

We finally got the house ready for the realtor. They are going to have an open house this coming Sunday. We are praying that the house sells quickly so that they family can join me in Lakewood asap.

The entire Kim clan has been up in Lakewood Washington for the past several days. It's been wonderful to meet the people of Little Church. It's been months of praying and listening and it's so good to finally put some faces to the people we've been praying about for the past several months. We've been staying with Lavonne and Morris Northcutt and their twin babies. Everyone at Little Church has been such wonderful hosts.

I will be preaching at both services in the morning and Little Church will have a congregational meeting where they will take the final vote to receive me as head of staff.

I am very eager to get started. God is up to something great!

Jan 10, 2010


Just got done with my last Sunday and celebrations at Trinity.

First sermons are easy. Last sermons - not so much. Beginnings are always easier.

Because of what I do, I am a logophile (lover of words). I have used the word bittersweet in many other contexts but at no other time has this word seem so appropriate as today.


I cannot help but be expectant about the new beginning and what God has in store for me and my family in Lakewood. I am excited about the new people we will be meeting, about the new ministries that will be starting, about the new lives that we will be intersecting with.

The anticipation of the new life and ministry is very sweet indeed.

But at the same time, the thought of leaving is very bitter. Leaving would be so easy if weren't for the incredible people we've met at Trinity. I have no problems leaving a location. There's nothing inherently great and incredible about The Colony, Dallas, or Texas. I have no regrets or remorse about the thought of leaving Texas. What I am going to miss is the people. I will miss the times - good and bad - that I've shared with the people of Trinity.

And because of the life we shared, I will always treasure Trinity and The Colony. I will never be able to think about Dallas or The Colony or Trinity without thinking about the people of Trinity.


That just about sums it up.

God bless you Trinity!

Here I come Little Church!

Jan 8, 2010

Holy Water? What Makes the Water of Baptism Holy Water?

As I've said in an earlier blog entry this week, I love the sacraments!

Whenever I baptize someone (I prefer dunking due to the powerful imagery and symbolism, but sprinkling or pouring will work just fine) I make it a point to note that the water we use for baptism is normal tap water. It's not some special water from the Jordan River (the river which Jesus was baptized in), or water that has been blessed by the Pope or some other "special" super-duper Christian person.

In fact there is nothing in particular about the water that makes the event of baptism any different than the shower or bath the person the person hopefully took earlier. It wouldn't matter if that water had come from the kitchen sink, or Jordan River, or the waters of Jupiter. It's not about the water. 

The thing that makes the event of baptism any different than all the other times that particular human being has gotten wet is that when we pray in faith and claim the promises of God through baptism, God takes that ordinary water and transforms it into the waters of baptism which seals and places a mark that will forever set that individual apart as belonging to God.

It's not the water that makes the difference. It's all God. It's all the promises of God. And it's all about placing our faith in the promises of God. And when that happens, God transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Thanks be to God for his incredible promises and for the gift of baptism.

Jan 7, 2010

Problem with Love - Unlovable People

Love one another.

Seems so simple.

"All you need is love," the Beatles sang.

Love is such an easy thing when it comes to my children, wife, my friends...well...most of them, most of the time ; )

But the problem I have with love is the unloveable people.
  • You know the people who are just so annoying.
  • The people who gets on your nerves. 
  • The people who back-stab you.
  • The people who mistreat you, dishonor you, discourage you.
If it weren't for such people, loving others would be so easy.

So how is it that we can move from the idea of love to actually being a people of love?

First, this cannot happen on our own will power and efforts alone. This kind of radical love only happens as we become the recipients of a greater love and grace. That's why, of all people, Christians ought to be leading the way when it comes to the loving people department.

Second, this kind of love only happens through incredibly hard work and effort on our part. As I speak with people about this, it's as if people think that as they read their Bibles, pray, and worship, that somehow the Holy Spirit will zap them and all of a sudden - where as they used to be unloving people, but because they have been zapped by the Holy Spirit - that they are now going to be loving people.

It doesn't work that way. Becoming more like Christ is a never ending, on-going, "yes" to the leadings and promptings of the Holy Spirit, and a never ending, on-going, "no" to the flesh.  This is work! And it's hard. But that's how we become more like Christ.

So, Christians, let's get to work. We've got to get busy on becoming more like Christ.

Begin with this - think of the person who's caused you the greatest pain. Can you see him/her? Now, pray for them. Right now. Pray for them. And ask Jesus to give you the strength to forgive them and love them.

Do it now. If you're reading this, this is the whispering and leading of the Holy Spirit. Don't wait. Do it now.

Let's get to work.

Jan 6, 2010

You Nuts?

"But his sons-in-law thought he was joking" Genesis 19:14.

This is one of the saddest accounts written in all of scripture.

Lot has been warned by God that Sodom and Gomorrah would be destroyed and that he and his family are to leave as quickly as possible. So when Lot learns this he goes to his extended family to explain the fate awaiting the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. But when they hear their father-in-law, they don't take him seriously. In fact, they think he's kidding. Worse yet, they think he's a joke.

What kind of life did Lot live before his children that when he spoke his own children's husbands didn't take him seriously?

If God were to tell you today of impending judgment and commanded you to tell others about it and get themselves right with God before the judgment, would people take you seriously? Would the life that you and I have been living before others testify and give credence to the message? Or would folks think that you and I were a nutjob?

It's one thing for complete strangers who don't know us to think that we're crazy, but these your sons-in-law. They are ones who saw you in action. These are people who know you. This is family.

Let's live in such a way that our lives give credence to the truth of Jesus Christ.

Jan 4, 2010

Why Do Presbyterian Baptize Children?

One of my most favorite things to do as a pastor is celebrating the sacraments. We always celebrate the Lord's Supper every Sunday, but this Sunday we were able to celebrate both the eucharist and baptism.  I love baptisms. They are so rich with meaning. 

I baptized two little boys  this past Sunday. 

I've been asked on occasion by people why Presbyterians baptize infants and little kids when they have no idea what's happening to them.

The reason why Presbyterians and many other Christians baptize children and infants is because there is no better demonstration of the love of God than in baptism. The thing that makes baptism, baptism and not just getting wet is because of God. It's because God is present that the ordinary tap water is transformed into the waters of baptism. It's because God's present that the act of baptism becomes the seal which marks us as his own.

I use a baptismal liturgy from the Church of Scotland. It perfectly illustrates the meaning of baptism. It goes like this:

For you Jesus Christ came into the world:
For you He lived and showed God’s love;
For you, He suffered the darkness of Calvary
And cried at the last, “It is finished”;
For you He triumphed over death and rose in newness of life;
For you He ascended to reign at God’s right hand.

All this He did for you, though you do not know it yet.
And so the promise of God is fulfilled: “We love because God first loved us.”

While I was reading this liturgy, this little boy with his big blue eyes was listening to the entire thing nodding his head. He made me feel like he understood everything I was telling him. 

Whether he understood the words or not, the fact is that God loves him. God loves him enough to die on the cross and to rise again for him. And not only for the two little boys, but for all who receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. 

That's the beauty of baptism. It's all about God. All that we can do is to respond to the love of God already demonstrated for us in Jesus Christ.

That's right my friends. God loves you!

Have a blessed day!

Jan 2, 2010

Just Do It!

This is the day that the Lord has made, so let us rejoice and be glad in it! Psalm 118:24

If we only knew how precious the gift of today is, we would all make the most of every day.

There is much living to do today.  Don’t forget to live today.  Stop putting things off to tomorrow that should be experienced today. Start living the life that God has given you today. 

Just do it!  

Don’t let another moment pass by aimlessly because you will never get that moment again. For each moment is a gift from God – that’s why we call it the present.  So make the best of every moment for each moment is God given and we are to rejoice in it.

So, you’ve been meaning to read a good book?

You’ve been meaning to call up your college buddies?

You’ve been meaning to shoot the breeze with your parents?

You’ve been meaning to picnic with your kids?

You’ve been meaning to invite me over for dinner and ice cream? 

Just do it!

Jan 1, 2010

Really Living or Merely Existing

"The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being" Genesis 2:7.

God made man from the dust of the ground. And when he was made, the man had the shape and form of man, but there was no life in him. Only when God breathed into the man the breath of life did the man come alive.

There are many today who go through life having the form and the shape of a living being. But there is no life in them. They have no idea why they are alive. They have no purpose and no direction. They merely go through life barely existing.

It it is only when the Spirit of the living God comes to dwell with us can we be fully alive. We will never know what it means to be fully alive and living until we receive the Spirit of the living God.

A person without God will look like a living being, but there is no life in him. But just because someone says that they have accepted Jesus into their lives does not mean that person knows how to be fully alive either.

To fully live means to fully live under the direction and the guidance of the Holy Spirit of God. This is an ongoing, continual "yes" to the whispers and the leadings of the Holy Spirit. This is the process of becoming more like Christ. For it is when we become more like Christ, that we become fully alive.

As we enter into this new decade, it is my prayer that we get better at listening and obeying the leading of the Holy Spirit of God. That by we resemble Christ in our thoughts and deeds.

May God bless you richly in the coming decade.

Happy New Year