Father, release the power of the Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin (John 16:8). Let hearts be humbled, let knees bow, and let lives be changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Comfort the broken-hearted, increase the courage and conviction of Your people ... to pursue justice and to protect the vulnerable in our land. Release Your peace into the hearts of the fearful. Father, have mercy and heal this nation. Uproot the evils of racism across America. Crush the arm of the oppressor. Destroy their strength. Render them powerless in Jesus name. Uproot the evils of abuse that have harmed women, men, and children for far too long. Remove these leaders from all positions of power - in the church, in the government, in all places of influence. We surrender these sins at the foot of the cross. Shine brightly in this hour, O Light of the world. Shine, and let Your Light drive away darkness. Bring change. Bring repentance. Bring revival. Bring healing. Let it be, Lord. Let it be. In the mighty name of Jesus we pray, Amen.
These two books have been life-giving. Reading them together has been life-changing. Providence has opened my eyes to see the beauty of God's sovereignty - in both mystery and majesty. Redeeming power has been such a humbling read. Power is too often used as a weapon that harms, instead of a shield to protect. And reading these two books together has allowed me to see pain through the lens of God's providence, to see suffering through the lens of sovereignty, and see Christ as the source of our hope in this fallen world. Highly recommended.
Asking for prayer for an upcoming project. I had the honor of being a part of a book project on justice with my colleague Thaddeus Williams called Confronting Injustice without Compromising Truth. This past weekend, we finished up filming the upcoming video course version of the book by Zondervan. One thing I've learned in these years of pursuing justice is that whenever we seek justice or create tools for the Church to engage it, a lot of spiritual warfare comes with it. So please pray for anointing on this project, protection for all those involved, and that this tool will be used by God to equip the Church further in becoming a gospel-centered, justice pursuing people of faith. Thank you.
I'm excited to announce the launch of a book I had the honor of being a part of. I had the privilege of collaborating with my colleague at Talbot, Thaddeus Williams, on an important book on justice called Confronting Injustice without Compromising Truth: 12 Questions Christians Should Ask About Social Justice. It's a tool that will help the Church look at social justice issues through the lens of the gospel. A pertinent topic for our times and just in time for your holiday shopping :)
As I've been able to blog more these days, I've received many requests for a subscription form to send out email updates for when I have new blog posts. If you'd like to be on that list, simply submit your email below. Thanks for all your support. I'm looking forward providing more encouragement and resources in the days to come. God bless you.
I was honored to have my book, Praying for Your Missionary, as a featured resource by the Center for Advancing Healthcare Missions during their most recent podcast concerning advancing healthcare missions around the world. Because of Covid, missions and especially healthcare missions work are facing challenges like never before. Thus, they need our prayers like never before. Let's continue to increase our prayers for the nations and those who are serving the nations.
In God's sovereignty we may suffer, but in His goodness, at the right time ... He will restore. (Psalm 71:20)
Great news! Talbot MA’s now qualify for the DMin program! Due to a recent change by our accrediting body, ATS, we are now able to consider all seminary MA's for admission into the Doctor of Ministry program without any additional classes. If you or someone you know has wanted to get a DMin degree but did not have an MDiv, now is the time to apply! Here are several exciting DMin specialty track options coming up in 2021:
Spiritual Formation and Soul Care led by Dr. John Coe
Advanced Biblical Preaching led by Dr. Don Sunukjian
Asian American Ministry led by Dr. Benjamin Shin
Growing & Multiplying Churches led by Dr. McIntosh and Dr. McMahan
Heart, Mind, & Soul led by Dr. Sunukjian, Dr. Porter, and Dr. Ganssle
Ministry Skills led by Dr. Ben Shin, Dr. Bill Hull, and Dr. Don Sunukjian
The application deadline is November 1, 2020.
Please let us know if you would like more information about any of these. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call us at (562) 944-0351, ext. 3233 or book an appointment.
Almost half of my 25 years in pastoral ministry were spent in South Korea. When I first went there, out of total obedience to God, I couldn’t speak the language, wasn’t the most culturally literate Korean-American out there, and my closest friends were genuinely worried about how I would survive my first month there. But God, in His sense of humor, kept me there far longer than I would’ve ever imagined, and changed me ways I would’ve never dreamed. Because I was pastoring an international congregation, I didn’t really have a heart for native Koreans. I figured there were plenty of mega-churches to go around to reach out to Koreans. I was there for the expat community. But in 2011, God opened my eyes to many vulnerable groups in Korea that were often overlooked by society and even in the church. So as a church, we began caring for those trafficked, orphans, single moms, and refugees. I began to understand why God repeatedly declares to care for the fatherless, the widow, and the sojourner throughout Scripture (Isaiah 1:17). I began to know our God who loves justice (Isaiah 61:8). As I met more people who were outcasts to society and were considered culturally “taboo”, God started to change my heart and I began falling in love with the Korean people.
One area that was particularly challenging to discuss in Korea was the issue of sex trafficking. There are so many topics concerning this issue that Koreans don’t discuss - sex, trafficking, sex outside of marriage, adultery, red-light districts … just to name a few. Other challenges I faced were the lies that most people believed about this issue. Most Koreans believed that women in that industry: 1) chose to do it, 2) enjoyed doing it, and 3) made a lot of money doing it. So they were never viewed as victims. I wanted to find a way to dispel those misconceptions. After much prayer, God put on my heart to make a documentary about sex trafficking in Korea, specifically to address those lies and to put a face to the victims in that nation. Currently there are still over 1 million women and children in Korea forced into some form of sexual servitude. I wanted to tell their stories and to see change so that hearts would begin caring for them - especially in the church.
My team and I began interviewing hundreds of women and girls who were rescued from trafficking and prayerfully sought God’s wisdom to best craft their story. One of the reasons why I believe God led us to make a film on this issue was because film can be such a powerful tool of communicating a story. And while people may not read a book, they are more likely to watch a film. Thus, Save My Seoul was born. Many people asked me why a pastor would make a documentary, especially on the topic of human trafficking. But I never thought of it as strange, because as a preacher, we are in the business of communicating God’s truth, grace, and the gospel in a way for others to understand better. This film became my “sermon” to challenge the church to have eyes opened and hearts moved to begin living out the gospel in our community. The film became my sermon to call the city on a hill to shine in places of darkness. I was able to reach people with this message of justice through this film that would have never been reached otherwise. I saw God honor this step of faith and obedience as He changed minds, hearts, and attitudes through Save My Seoul. And a pleasant surprise was having the film win “Best Documentary” at the Asia Pacific Film Festival in Los Angeles after its release. I saw firsthand what a powerful ministry tool film can be.
I’m excited for the future of film and the arts being used more in ministry and as a means of declaring the gospel in creative ways. I’m also excited for the future of Biola’s School of Cinema and Media Arts that will equip believers with skills, expertise, and experience to use this platform to expand the Kingdom of God. Biola was already listed as one of the top film schools in the world by industry leaders such as Variety. And it will enter new heights under the leadership of its new and founding dean, Tom Halleen. Tom spent 30 years in television and was a key member in the launch of groundbreaking shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and The Walking Dead. Many of my friends and I have been praying for a revival in Hollywood and I believe God is moving in powerful ways to transform this industry to be one that shines the light and love of Christ in many creative means. Pray that the seeds of passion in people’s hearts for film and media arts would reap a mighty harvest of righteousness and honor to God - from churches to Hollywood to the ends of the earth.
Note: You can watch Save My Seoul on Amazon Prime and in iTunes.
I was in shock, I was saddened, and I had deep joy as I heard JI Packer went home today. His writings and teachings were formative to my spiritual journey, beginning in my highschool and college years. His book Knowing God was a big reason I chose to study at Regent College for my MDiv degree. Each time I saw him in class, each time I heard a lecture, each time I saw his photo, each time I read his books, I wanted to love Jesus more and I wanted to live faithfully like him. What a privilege it was to sit in his class. And one of the greatest honors of my life was to read the words of his endorsement to my first book, Justice Awakening. We lost a mighty giant of the Christian faith today, but I have deep joy knowing that he is finally home and entered his everlasting rest. Multitudes welcomed him, the angels rejoiced, and Jesus embraced him declaring, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into your Master’s happiness.” You fought the good fight. You kept the faith. You finished your race. I hear your voice echoed through the words of Paul: “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8)
Thank you, Dr. Packer. Your life changed the course of my life. And for that, I am eternally grateful. I honor you. I miss you. And I look forward to the day when I will see you again … when we’re all finally home.
"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the Gospel of God's grace."
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