Archive for May 2010

You Do Things Worth Remembering When You Don’t Care About Being Remembered   2 comments

“Let my name die everywhere, let even my friends forget me, if by that means the cause of the blessed Jesus may be promoted.” — George Whitfield

This has been a hard lesson for me to grasp. I want Christ to receive the glory, but I want to be the guy who is there to be recognized as the conduit for His exaltation.

The sad thing is that I know the verses to know John 3:30, that “He must increase, but I must decrease.” But merely knowing and reciting creeds does me no good. Rather, I must know the heart of John the Baptist in John 3:30. There are two things John understood that I need to remember, and will hopefully serve your hearts as well.

First, John the Baptist realized that his insignificance, and that he was easily and quickly replaceable. In the assembly line of Jesus’ ministry, John did not consider himself to be an irreplaceable and customized part. Rather, the task given him was something that could be easily outsourced to China or India. He says in John 3:29 that he is merely the “friend of the bridegroom” that is just happy to hear the bridegroom’s voice. I know that if I had the role of John the Baptist, I would have a hard time thinking of myself in such an insignificant way. I could consider myself to be the best man. But John recognizes in this wedding analogy that the wedding is about the bridegroom and the bride. Really, all the other parts can be replaced and it doesn’t make too big of a difference.

Second, he recognized that his role in Jesus’ ministry was a gift of grace, not a fruit of his righteousness. He realizes that what he has in this ministry was “given him from heaven” (John 3:27). He knows that in this wedding party, he isn’t the great guitarist that is called to play the couple’s favorite song. Instead, Jesus comes up to him and says, “You have a voice and you are strong enough to hold a guitar. Play something.” John wasn’t the “voice of one crying in the wilderness” (John 1:23) because of the strength of his voice or the skillfulness of his speech. John recognized that he was given the task because he had a voice and he could handle nature.

Recognizing that you are insignificant and that your role in the ministry of Christ was given by grace is the prerequisite for doing what George Whitfield did. What exactly did Whitfield do? He was one of the founders of the Methodist denomination. (He was a Calvinistic Methodist… yes, they existed back in the old days.) He has directly and indirectly affected the lives and souls of millions of Christians around the world and throughout the generations. Why? Cuz he really didn’t care that people would know who George Whitfield was. John the Baptist? He didn’t care that his name would be remembered two thousand years after his death. Paul? Peter? They didn’t care. They were consumed with but one thing… the magnifying of the glory of Jesus Christ. If it was attributed to their ministry? Cool. If not, and their work was overlooked? Cool. All that mattered was that “the cause of the blessed Jesus may be promoted.”

——————–

Today is Memorial Day, and I want to remember it for more than just not having to go to school. In thinking of the soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the freedom that I enjoy in the United States, I invariably came to think about the soldiers for Christ who gave their lives to spread His name throughout the world. Some of those names we know. But there are so many who are nothing more than names and dates. There are names in my life–John Hurst, Jeff Clay, Nate Fung, Goodwin Deng–who helped, in one way or another, to bring me to the knowledge of the Lord. But aside from them, there are the ones who ministered to their lives who brought them first to a saving knowledge of Christ. These are names that most people, outside of myself, will not know. There are people in your lives who were formative in bringing you to saving faith. Remember these people today precisely because they did not want to be remembered… they did not seek honor from men, but ministered in secret so that they might receive the reward from their heavenly Father–the furthering of His Kingdom.

Posted May 31, 2010 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized

From Russia With Love: Mikhail Prokorov And His Nyets Takes Over The World   1 comment

(For those of you who have only recently begun reading this blog, I will occasionally write about sports. Hope you like it…)

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Mikhail Prokorov and his recent purchase of the New Jersey Nets (hereafter referred to as the “Nyets” to appeal to the Russian audience), here is a primer by Bill Simmons. (Bill… I bought your book and plug your articles. What have you done for me, lately? Plug my blog! ^___^ )

I really have nothing to add to what Simmons wrote, but I just wanted to put out my prediction for how the Nets will look in 2012, when they become the Brooklyn __________ (fill in name of Prokorov’s latest girlfriend… he actually suggested that for his team name). I wanted to put it out there so that in 2012, I can say, “I saw this coming. Read my blog post two years ago.” Besides, I’ve always had a little if-I-can-be-general-manager-for-a-season-in-the-NBA-or-MLB-I-can-do-better-than-half-the-guys-out-there in me.

C–Brook Lopez (7-0, 265): Brook, in his fourth year, will solidify himself as a formidable center. In his most recent season, he put up 18.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks. Look for him to consistently put up at least 18, 8  and 1.5 for many years to come. He’ll also be relatively cheap because, as a fourth-year, he’s still under the rookie salary scale, so he should be making somewhere between $4-6 million. Not too shabby for a perennial All-Star game backup to Dwight Howard.

PF–Derrick Favors (6-10, 245): I believe the Nets will pick Favors with the third pick, unless the first two teams are dumb and don’t snatch up Wall and Turner. I think I would take Favors, too, who only slightly inches ahead of Wesley Johnson because of need. I’m not generally a guy who would advocate drafting for need rather than choosing the best player, but I think Favors would really be the better fit, would fill a greater hole for the Nets, and can be almost as valuable as Johnson. Favors has sick athleticism and is really long. He can develop a more solid mid-range game later on, but for now… his length and athleticism will suffice. In 2012, he will be a making about $4-5 million. I can see him getting 10-12 points a night off of alley-oops and put-backs alone, as well as pulling down about 7-9 rebounds, especially with the defense focusing on Lopez.

SF- Carmelo Anthony (6-8, 230): LeBron is not going to NJ. There is no way he’s going to be in basketball purgatory for two years just so he can hang out with Jay Z. I’m thinking it’s going to be Chicago because, if LeBron doesn’t care enough about forging his own legacy to use Jordan’s number, he won’t care too much if he has to stand on Jordan’s shoulders in Chicago. But, Carmelo… the Brooklyn ______ are perfect for him. He wants to market himself, and Denver is not the place for him. Especially in a couple of years when Chauncey Billups is too old to be a good number 2 for him. I think he jumps at the chance in 2011 to sign a max deal with Brooklyn/New Jersey. He gets to play in the largest market in the NBA, for a team with a solid nucleus, and an opportunity to be a winner. This will be a no-brainer for Prokorov. Melo is marketable, especially because he brings with him associations with Jordan. (He’s the first guy to sign with the Jordan brand back when he entered the league.) Jordan is known throughout the world and with Melo playing for Prokorov, he can be in the Kobe-LeBron echelon. Basketball-wise, he’s going to put up anywhere between 25-30 points and pull down about 6-7 rebounds. Dude’s a stud! Look for Melo to get whatever the max contract is… probably about $15-20 million a year for however long.

SG- OJ Mayo (6-4, 210): Rather than losing the rights to Mayo after he finishes his fourth season, the Grizzlies will trade him for a mixture of draft picks and the expiring albatross contract of Bobby Simmons (about $13 million off the books). Mayo, on a playoff team, can be a solid 15 point guy. Does this seem far-fetched? No more far-fetched than giving Pau Gasol away for his fat little brother, Marc. (Marc, however, has turned out to be a pretty good center. I was pretty confident he’d blossom, once given the opportunity, and I’m glad he’s turning out to be a pretty solid center.)

PG- Devin Harris (6-3, 190): Prokorov is all about buying low. In 08-09, Harris was thought to be a near-max guy, a point guard who put up 21 points and 7 assists a night. Then, injuries derailed his scoring and showed him for what he really was. A guard with good penetration and speed, but a suspect jumper and shot selection. However, when he was a star-laden team (the Dallas Mavericks), his shooting percentages were much higher, showing that he knows how to rein in his shot selection when he has talent around him. I think signing Harris to what he’s making now, about $8 million a year, would be a pretty good deal.

PF- Yi Jianlian (7-0, 250): Yi is going to be good. Mark my words!

SF- Chris Douglas Roberts (6-7, 210): CDR gots skills. Good role player.

PG- Jeremy Lin (6-3, 200): I hope he gets a chance to play in the NBA. 🙂

Posted May 21, 2010 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized

Worship Even When Suffering Is Right Before Your Eyes   Leave a comment

This post will be quick… mostly because I have class in ten minutes.

Habakkuk, the prophet, says in 3:16 that he is “quietly [waiting] for the day of distress, for the people to arise who will invade us.” And his next words? They can either be considered words of the delusional or some of the most faith-building words you will read.

“Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olives should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.” (Habakkuk 3:17-18)

You can either consider the man a lunatic or you can consider him a man of great faith. Yet… if his faith is blind… he’s a lunatic. Really? You’re getting ready to get destroyed and you’re gonna “exult” and you’re gonna “rejoice”?

But his faith is not blind… and this is where it is faith-building for those who have put their hope in Yahweh. Read 3:13 because no matter what happens in 3:16, Habakkuk can still have faith that 3:13 is going to happen. That is the same faith that we can have… though all around us crumble, we can rejoice in the God of our salvation who promises good to us and who promises us with an imperishable wreath and a treasure where neither moth nor rust destroy.

Posted May 20, 2010 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized

God Does Not Want You To Love Social Justice!   3 comments

God does not want you to love social justice. He does not want you to feed the hungry, He does not want you to heal the sick, He does not want you to clothe the poor, He does not want you to give rest to the weary… primarily. Rather, God wants you to love the God of social justice. If what you get out of your Christianity is that you need to volunteer at homeless shelters, build homes in disaster-stricken areas, and adopt orphaned children… you’ve completely missed the gospel.

Jesus Christ was not about the poor and the hungry and the destitute… primarily. Jesus Christ was about God–He was about bringing Himself and His Father utmost glory. Mark 14:1-11 makes this motivation clear as a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume breaks the vial and pours it all over Jesus’ head. This perfume in this vial was worth about 300 days wages. (If you do a quick calculation of even $10 an hour for 8 hours a day… that’s about $24,000!) So, obviously, the disciples were indignant… and you might be as well. Because that’s a huge waste of money. I mean, it’s Jesus and all, but maybe you can give him a little sprinkle of the perfume and give the rest to local charities. That’s why Jesus scolds her! He tells her that she was supposed to love the poor first and foremost…

Except Jesus didn’t say that. The disciples scolded her, and Jesus scolded the disciples: “Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me. She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the world world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her” (v. 6-9).

All she did was waste money on Jesus. Wouldn’t He rather she give the proceeds to the poor? Wouldn’t He rather she spend her time comforting the widows? Isn’t this the same Jesus who fed the hungry and healed the disabled? Isn’t this the same Jesus whose brother wrote that “pure and undefiled religion [is]… to visit orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27)?

Yup.

But He is also the same Jesus who said that this woman’s act was so extraordinary that “wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of.” That is because the focus of the gospel is not on those around us. That is because the greatest commandment of all is to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The primary focus of the Christian faith and, therefore, the primary focus of the Christian person, is God. Our calling as believers in Jesus Christ is to worship the heavenly Father who sent His only Son to die on the cross to save sinners from their much-deserved wrath.

The problem in the world is not unemployment, homelessness, starvation, or disease. The problem in this world is that people do not worship the one and only God. Jesus says that we will “always have the poor.” This isn’t a problem we can fully fix, but it is a problem that can be properly assessed and properly aided once people approach it–not as an end–but as a means to worship God. We do not love the poor because the poor are the most important people in the world. We do not care for orphans because children are our most precious resource. We love the poor and care for orphans because we worship a living God… and God loves the poor and God cares for the orphans. It does not minimize our love for those around us when we look at it as worship to God. In fact, it should motivate greater sacrifice because we should know that a great God is pleased with us, will provide for us, and will further our work.

So, love the poor, care for the orphans, mourn with the grieving, and build up the downtrodden. But don’t do it and think that you are being honoring God just by doing these actions. Because unbelievers and atheists even care for those around them. Rather, look to God and find your motivation in Him. Turn to God and see that He is pleased in your social justice when your social justice is a means of glorifying the God who cares for the weak and the poor more than we can ever fathom.

(BTW… my Trial Court professor says I’m too preachy… I think he’s right.)

Also, I don’t want to plug a million charities, but a good one is Compassion. You have the opportunity to sponsor a child in a third world country. You will not only take care of their physical needs, such as clothes and food and school supplies, but you will also take care of their spiritual needs, as they will learn the Bible and hear the gospel preached. Plus, you can keep in contact with them through letters. This is by no means the best way to use your money or the only worthy cause out there… just a good one that I know of. And another one is Children’s Hunger Fund.

Posted May 18, 2010 by Mitchell J. Kim in Uncategorized