Archive for November 2009

A Glimpse Into Forever   1 comment

The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say,
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.”
And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”

Revelation 4:7-11

What do we worship?

Some of us worship celebrities and celebrity gossip and spend our days on Perez Hilton and reading tabloids to hear about the latest celebrity break-up.

Some of us worship sports and athletes and games, giving our lives up to play a sport and to follow a team and to know everything about our team.

Some of us worship success and prestige, living our lives without a moment of rest because we just need to make one more sale, or write one more paper, or design one more thing, so that we can stand out from among the hoi polloi.

Some of us worship leisure, doing nothing all day and loving it.

Some of us worship our families, being satisfied only so long as my wife is beautiful and my children are perfect.

Those things, in an of itself, aren’t too bad. Being interested in celebrities and sports can be fun; working hard and having success can be a good aspiration; finding time to rest is necessary; and family is important. BUT, these are all secondary. In heaven, the scene will consist of none of these things because everyone will be focused on shouting out “holy, holy, holy” and “worthy are You.” It’s not that God is a kill-joy who won’t let us enjoy other things. It’s that God Himself is the culmination of all our enjoyment, and when we are before Him, everything else pales in comparison.

Eat ground beef when I can have Kobe beef? Drive a beat-up, barely running car when I can cruise in a new Beamer? Sit in the bleachers, when I have a pair of tickets on the 50-yd line? Focus on anything else when God–God Himself–is before my eyes? In the words of Ralph Wiggum, from the Simpsons: “That’s unpossible.”

Posted November 21, 2009 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized

Freedom From Self-Preservation   Leave a comment

I just had to steal this from Ray Ortlund’s blog: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/rayortlund/2009/11/19/freedom-from-self-preservation/

The whole point of it all is that Christians should not care about self-preservation, either physically or socially, but should rather live for the “true grace of God” (1 Peter 5:12)–the privilege of sharing in Christ’s sufferings that we may also rejoice when His glory is revealed.

1 Peter 4:12-16 (NASB):

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you are sharing the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.

Matthew 6:19-21, 24:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth [or self-preservation].

Posted November 19, 2009 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized

Gold Glove Nominations   Leave a comment

For whatever it’s worth… here’s my Gold Glove choices, as opposed to the actual picks. I’m starting with the NL first because they always get shafted by the media. (Note: there will not be any explanations, but know that my numbers are heavily influenced by a range of defense statistics that measure range, arm strength, and consistency. Also, they will be influenced in a small part by HOLY-CRAP-DID-HE-JUST-MAKE-THAT-PLAY plays.)

National League

P- Adam Wainwright (Actual: Wainwright)

C- Yadier Molina, with an honorable mention for Russell Martin (Molina)

Glove? I don't need no stinkin' glove.

1B- Albert Pujols (Adrian Gonzalez)

2B- Chase Utley (Orlando Hudson)

Boy got hops... for a white guy.

3B- Ryan Zimmerman (Zimmerman)

Zimmerman really wanted to win that Web Gem crown.

SS- Troy Tulowitzki (Jimmy Rollins)

OF- Matt Kemp (Kemp)

I don't even care about his defense... cuz Kemp will eventually be a .300 hitter with 30 HR, 100 RBI, 100 R, and 30 SB. I guarantee it.

OF- Michael Bourn (Bourn)

OF- Jayson Werth, with an honorable mention for Nyger Morgan (Victorino)

American League

P- Mark Buehrle (ACTUAL: Buehrle)

C- Gerald Laird (Joe Mauer)

Dude protects the plate.

1B- Kendry Morales (Mark Teixeira)

2B- Placido Polanco (Polanco)

3B- Evan Longoria (Longoria)

SS- Elvis Andrus (Derek Jeter)

Elvis and Dork Elvis work in sports in the same state.

OF- Franklin Gutierrez (Torii Hunter)

Gutierrez is a former Dodger.

OF- B.J. Upton (Adam Jones)

OF- Nelson Cruz (Ichiro Suzuki)

Posted November 12, 2009 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized

Quick Thoughts on Derek Jeter   Leave a comment

Derek Jeter won the 2009 AL Gold Glove at shortstop–his fourth Gold Glove of his career. And there has been some talk among the baseball community that Jeter was wholly undeserving of his latest award. Although I couldn’t agree more, I would say that this Gold Glove was his most deserving from among the four. Let me explain…

"Yes, I got a routine putout. That should be enough for me, my chiseled jawline, and my beautiful fiancee to win a Gold Glove."

Among the 11 shortstops in the AL who played at least 800 innings at that position, Jeter ranked 5th in UZR, with a 6.6, trailing Erick Aybar of the Angels, Adam Everett of the Tigers, Elvis Andrus of the Rangers, and Cesar Izturis of the Orioles. (UZR, which stands for Ultimate Zone Ranking, is a mathematical determination of the number of runs a player has saved or cost his team playing defense, including his arm strenght and double play ability.) Jeter’s UZR was much closer to the best (Izturis, at 10.8) than it was to the worst (Yuniesky Bentacourt of the Mariners/Royals, at -20.5). I commend Jeter for that, especially since his 6.6 was the highest UZR of his career. In his other three Gold Glove seasons (2004-2006), he had UZRs of -0.4, -14.3, and -6.8. The highest UZRs in those three years, in comparison, were 16.4 by Julio Lugo, 19.9 by Orlando Cabrera, and 11.8 by Alex Gonzalez.

Jeter was also clearly behind Andrus in putouts (206 to 261) and finished sixth in that category. He also ranked sixth in assists and eight in double plays. Granted, he was tied with Izturis with the fewest errors (8) among AL shortstops. However, in 40 fewer games started, Izturis had just as many assists and double plays as Jeter. Again, keep in mind that Jeter’s rankings of 5th, 6th, 6th, 8th and 1st are among 11 eligible shortstops.

Even when he commits an error, he looks awesome.

AND THIS WAS JETER’S BEST DEFENSIVE SEASON… EVER!!!

So, this analysis begs the question: How did Jeter win the Gold Glove… EVER? Two reasons. First, Omar Visquel’s reign as the best defensive shortstop in the AL ended. Second, he’s Derek Jeter. He’s articulate, he’s never used steroids, his hobby is collecting World Series rings, and his list of girlfriends include Mariah Carey, Scarlet Johannson, Miss Universe Lara Dutta, Miss Teen USA Vanessa Minnillo, and Minka Kelly (his current fiancee). So, here’s what was going through the mind of the Gold Glove Award voters: “Defense? Who cares about defense? Give Jeter the award and maybe we can get a picture with Minka Kelly.” I hope that picture was worth your soul… because the award should’ve clearly gone to Elvis Andrus… or Erick Aybar… aww, heck, just let Jeter have it.

Posted November 11, 2009 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized

Help me grow a mustache…   Leave a comment

http://us.movember.com/mospace/183671

It also raises money for prostate cancer research.

Posted November 5, 2009 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized

Ask, And It Will Be Given To You: An Attempt To Recover The True Name-It Claim-It Gospel   1 comment

Jesus said, “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened” (Luke 11:9-10).

There was once a man who dearly sought after God’s heart. He wanted to become a pastor and enrolled at Yale Seminary. Yet, during school, he saw inconsistencies in the lives of his professors, and he could not help but call them out on them. Surely, God would honor an attempt to reclaim true Christian virtues… yet this man was expelled from Yale during his junior year, and in a time and place where you could not become a pastor without a seminary degree from a top institution such as Yale. This man asked for one thing–that God would use him as a pastor so that he might serve Him the rest of his life. Yet, where was God? He asked, and he did not receive; he sought, and nothing was to be found; he knocked, and the door remained shut. God? Where are you, God?

I think many of us have had similar experiences. I want to go do __________ and it can be honoring to God, but why won’t He let me do it? I want to have __________ and it can be used to honor God, but why won’t He give it to me? I want a relationship with __________ and we can honor God together, but why won’t He work it out?

In reading Luke 11:9-10, many of us know that God promises to give, show (so we can find), and open–but many of us are left sorely disappointed. We know that God is good, so we make feeble attempts to try to reconcile our desires with God’s seeming lack of action. We try to remind ourselves that God is still good, even though we are inwardly disappointed that He seems to have lied or to have forgotten your requests.

 

People such as Creflo Dollar and Joel Osteen have perverted the truth of verses such as Luke 11. Sorry to say people, but God is not our cosmic slot machine. Luke 11 speaks of something much greater than receiving health and wealth. Don't miss out.

 

But, rest assured that God has not forgotten you and He has not forsaken you. The man who so dearly wanted to become a pastor? His name is David Brainerd. He is the man credited as the father of the modern missionary movement. Brainerd, no longer able to pastor at a church in the New England area, moved west to minister to Native Americans. He found the work to be difficult and he longed for Christian companionship. Only a handful of Native Americans came to know the Lord during his four years of missionary work. He was depressed and stricken with all sorts of illnesses, and he eventually died at a fairly young age of tuberculosis.

Wait, I thought God answered Brainerd? I thought Brainerd was the father of modern missionary, but it seems like he lived an uneventful life, did not do much for the kingdom of God, and died a painful death. Yes, yes he did. And God was glorified in that and used Brainerd’s life to ignite a spark that has burned into a massive fire.

– Jim Eliot and Nate Saint went into Equador in the 1950’s to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. They were soon martyred, dying at the hands of the Equadorian natives, who speared them to death. Eliot’s wife returned to the same area and lived with the Equadorians, sharing the gospel of love and forgiveness with them. The man who killed Eliot? He came to know the Lord and is now a pastor.

– Hudson Taylor became a missionary to China, where he proclaimed the gospel for over 50 years. He started an organization which today is known as OMF International. He brought over 800 missionaries into the country and nearly 18,000 Chinese people came to know the Lord. Today, although China is suffering from intense religious persecution under a communist regime, it boasts one of the largest Christian populations in all the world.

– David Livingstone was a medical missionary in Africa. He was also one of the foremost voices for the abolition of slavery.

– John Nevius was one of the first missionaries to Korea, and he promoted an idea of growing local churches supported by the locals. South Korea, today, sends out more missionaries around the world than any other country.

There are countless other examples that have the stamp of David Brainerd. It was his life of suffering, yet persevering in the work of the Lord. It was doing work, not for the sake of wealth or fame, but for the sake of seeing but one soul turn from sin and turn to Christ. Brainerd once wrote, “We should always look upon ourselves as God’s servants, placed in God’s world, to do his work; and accordingly labour faithfully for him; not with a design to grow rich and great, but to glorify God, and do all the good we possibly can.” He formed the mindset of many modern missionaries who have given up lives of comfort to do the Lord’s work where it was not being done: “Worldly pleasures, such as flow from greatness, riches, honours, and sensual gratifications, are infinitely worse than none.” Brainerd also gave missionaries advice for spiritual vitality and perseverance: “When you cease from labour, fill up your time in reading, meditation, and prayer: and while your hand are labouring, let your heart be employed, as much as possible, in divine thoughts.”

So… Brainerd had a goal to be used by God. And God used Brainerd’s expulsion from school and Brainerd’s exile to minister to Native Americans and Brainerd’s tuberculosis to bring much glory to God–in a manner in which Brainerd could never have fathomed in his wildest dreams.

This brings me to just three observations of Luke 11:9-10. These are things that have also been characterized in Brainerd’s life.

1. First, ask and you will NOT immediately receive.

Jesus explains in Luke 11:5-8 that a friend will not help out another at midnight if that friend asks for some bread. However, “even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.” It’s persistence that wins the friend over. And this illustration by Jesus goes directly into the next verse which says, “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you…” Ask, and it will be given… but not right away. Ask and ask and ask. Be persistent and fervent in your requests and prayers. Oftentimes, God’s answer to our prayer requests are neither “yes” or “no”, but a “maybe.” It’s not that God doesn’t care, but rather He cares to teach us the virtue of persistence, for as you pray more and more, God will deepen your affection and desire for that prayer. Either that, or His Spirit will convict you of the folly of asking for the wrong things.

David Brainerd’s requests to God were not answered immediately. In fact, they were not answered in his lifetime. The effect of Brainerd’s ministry were not witnessed by him, but they have been witnessed in a powerful way since close friend, Jonathan Edwards, published his diaries and provided a window into the man’s soul.

2. Second, ask and God promises to give good gifts.

Jesus explains in Luke 11:11-12 that a good father will not give a snake if his child asks for a fish. Furthermore, he will not give a scorpion if his child asks for an egg. I think God makes such an extreme, almost ridiculous, contrast because he wants to emphasize something–God will give what is good, although that might not necessarily be what the child is asking for. When I was a child, I would eat as much ice cream as I could possibly get my hands on. But if my father was a good father, when I ask him for ice cream to eat for breakfast, there should be two things that should be certain in his mind. One, he will not give me a snake or anything harmful for me. And, two, he will not give me ice cream. A good father will give what is good for his child, although that is not necessarily what the child wants–it’s what the child needs. The father discerns that and the father gives what is best for his child because he loves his child. Likewise, if we have an earnest desire for something, God will not give us something bad. Psalm 84:11-12 says, “No good thing does [God] withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, how blessed is the man who trusts in You!” We who trust the Lord and walk according to His ways, are “blessed” because “no good thing does He withhold.” God is the perfect Father, the one with infinite wisdom and infinite patience in order to show infinite love to His children.

Brainerd asked to be used by God, but God did not give him a seminary degree or many converts or a long ministry and life. But what did God do? He used David Brainerd to inspire thousands of missionaries who have won millions of lives to Jesus Christ over the last two centuries.

3. Third, ask and God will give you the Holy Spirit.

The good gift that God gives… it’s the Holy Spirit. And, really, how amazing and how kind of a gift is that. We get the Spirit who will empower us and guide us in the ways of the Father. He is a gift that is relevant in every circumstance and in every request we make to the Father. When believers in Acts 4 were empowered by the Spirit, they “began to speak the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31). Saul became Paul when he received the Holy Spirit and became the foremost missionary to the Gentiles. The Holy Spirit empowers and moves believers (2 Peter 1:21), allows them to endure tribulations (1 Thessalonians 4:6),  regenerates and renews new believers (Titus 3:5), and gifts believers (Hebrews 2:4).

Brainerd was filled with the Holy Spirit. By Him, Brainerd was able to endure expulsion, physical suffering, and a seemingly futile ministry while fixing his gaze on the Lord Jesus Christ.

So… ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you shall find. Knock, and it will be opened to you. But know that the Father’s ways are greater than ours, and His gifts are often much better than we had fathomed… likewise, His gifts are rarely the thing we specifically ask of Him. So, ask, and get ready to have the Lord work mightily. Who knows, maybe He’ll kick you out of school, send you to a foreign land, and kill you with a painful disease… and millions will have eternal life from it. If only he would so graciously work in our lives…

Posted November 1, 2009 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized