Archive for April, 2008

Reflections from the 2008 Shepherd’s Conference

by Pastor Patrick Cho

This year, eleven men from Lighthouse attended the 2008 Shepherds’Conference. The conference, which was held on March 5-7 at Grace Community Church, was a tremendous blessing because of the amount of teaching we were able to take in. Spiritually, it provided a time for rejuvenation and refreshing. It also promoted wonderful fellowship as there were many opportunities to converse about the seminars and messages.

The Shepherds’ Conference this year did not feature some of the same big name speakers as in previous years. Although John MacArthur and Al Mohler were there, past conferences also included speakers like John Piper and R. C. Sproul. Though there might have initially been some disappointment from not being able to hear some of the more popular pastors, in many ways this conference proved to be more encouraging and edifying than those of previous years. Those who attended the conference agreed that this year’s messages were among the best of all the previous conferences combined.

Tom Pennington offered a wonderful exposition about fruitful Christian living from Psalm 1, Rick Holland delivered a challenging message from Leviticus 9 about the dangers of casual familiarity with God, Phil Johnson spoke on the counter-cultural approach of Paul’s preaching in Athens from Acts 17, Al Mohler addressed the theology of exposition from Deuteronomy 4, and Steve Lawson enlivened everyone at the conference with a sermon about the invincible weapon that the preacher wields from Hebrews 4:12. But the highlight messages of the week came from John MacArthur.

MacArthur spoke the most frequently giving three of the general session sermons as well as a Q&A. His first message on Wednesday morning was about the church in the Book of Acts and how important it is to maintain a biblical ecclesiology. He addressed some of the recent church growth trends and explained that the church today is unfortunately moving farther and farther away from the prescribed and lucid instructions from God’s Word. Instead of adopting church growth methodologies that simply cater to sinners’ wants, the church should stick to the strategies of the early church: focusing on the Word of God, raising a believing and sanctified congregation, and appointing qualified and godly leaders.

That evening, MacArthur presented a masterful exposition of the account of the widow’s offering in Luke 20:45-21:6, but the message that seemed to make the biggest impact on all in attendance was the final sermon of the conference. He prefaced the sermon by explaining that it contained the material for the rewritten first chapter of the 20th anniversary edition of his book, The Gospel according to Jesus. In this message, he carefully examined the master/slave motif of the New Testament and outlined how the Bible calls all believers of Christ to be His slaves. The premise of the sermon was if Christ is to be Lord and Master (cf. Jude 1:4), then His followers are to be His slaves. This is how the Apostles identified themselves and this is how the Lord regards His followers even unto eternity future (cf. Rev. 22:3). MacArthur was careful to explain that though all true believers are slaves of Christ, Christ is ever the gracious and wonderful Master because, though we are slaves, He treats us as friends (cf. John 15:14-15).

The fellowship at the conference was encouraging. Seeing the servant hearts of the members at Grace Community Church throughout the entire week was humbling. The gifts, food, and free books provided at the conference were blessings. But the real highlight was the clear exposition of God’s Word, which was delivered again and again. In many ways, it was like drinking from a fire hydrant trying to take in that much teaching in such a short time. All in all, the conference lifted our spirits and challenged us to lead in the church the way God intends. It was surely a weekend that will remain in our hearts for a long time.

Nate Kwak

by Kevin Au

There’s a good chance you may know Nate Kwak, as you can often seeing him making his rounds, greeting almost everybody at church on any given Sunday. We may not be seeing as much of him in the near future, as he will be graduating UCSD this June, and heading home to La Palma, California to be a part of his home church and family. But before that time comes, I got the chance to pull Nate aside, and find out some things you may not know.

“I was a troublemaker growing up,” admits Nate. “A lot of the older people in the church had known me as ‘the demon child.’” But with Taekwondo as an outlet, some of that energy was funneled elsewhere, and by the time he reached 4th or 5th grade, Nate fit the “quiet and obedient kid” mold better.

Though he grew up in a Christian household, with an older sister who persistently pushed him to examine himself beyond his outward personality, Nate did not come to understand the gospel or acknowledge Christ as Lord until the summer before he came to college. “I’d say my experience of college was my experience of the Christian life,” says Nate. “I didn’t hear the gospel in its entirety until I transitioned out of youth group.”

After this, Nate found himself in San Diego, coming to LBC on Sundays as Ju-im faithfully called him and picked up the collegians. He has been coming ever since. “I really have been influenced a lot by Pastor John,” says Nate, when asked who has influenced his faith. “His unwavering example, boldness, and his messages spoken with the authority of Scripture have changed the way that I share the gospel. I struggled a lot with making sure people felt comfortable, but by coming to LBC, I’ve really learned the importance of the Bible, and whatever the Bible says is what matters. It has changed my perspective on where authority comes from, and I’m not as swayed by men as I was before.”

Nate will be finishing up his Urban Studies and Planning major this year, having switched to it from Structural Engineering his first two years. “I’m hoping to do something with housing and development, hopefully something that can help immigrant families find housing.”

As he looks back on his college career, several moments stand out in particular: “My second year,” Nate reminisces, “Andy Shin, Chris Katsura, Paul Molina and I were playing with fire with a lighter and an aerosol can. We lit it and the fire started coming back up towards the can. I jerked my head back in reaction, but at the same time Andy put his head forward. The back of my head collided with his and I blacked out for about 10 seconds. When I came back, I remember that the last thing I heard was a crack, so I thought I had broken Andy’s glasses. I looked up and his glasses were fine, but he was holding his nose, saying ‘This isn’t good, guys.’ I had broken his nose…that memory stands out the most.”

Nate’s words of wisdom to the younger collegians: “Talk to everyone you can. Wherever you are, just talk to people. Encourage Christians, evangelize to non-Christians. For the guys, talk to the older guys at church, don’t spend all your conversation on video games and sports, talk about God…and don’t make it a weird thing to pray with others. Pray honestly. Pray genuinely.”

“I love LBC,” Nate concludes, “I’m going to miss it a lot, but God can use His children wherever they go, and right now, I think its time to go. Don’t be afraid to go and do.”

Jin and Grace Lee

by Moon Choi

There are more couples at Lighthouse that have been set up than one would think – Jin and Grace Lee are an example of it. A good friend of theirs, a former member of Lighthouse, set up a blind date for the two of them when Grace was in the OC. After four and a half months of dating, they got engaged.

At church, I had to pull them away as soon as second service ended because I knew that they’d get caught up chatting with other people. As I approached them, Grace said, “You caught me in the middle of Jin abusing me!” My puzzled expression must’ve prompted Grace to explain the situation: she had given away their box of Samoas. And Jin loves Samoas. Sitting in the back corner of the sanctuary of the old building, I asked them what the challenges and blessings of their marriage were. They both responded that they feel very blessed to be married. This is something that kept on coming up throughout their interview – they would just look at each other before responding to the question. However, they were quick to say that there are still struggles because they are not perfect. Grace said, “Really, it’s still two sinners coming together.” Jin quickly chimed in, “But it’s still joyful. It’s like – 95% joys.” He added that the things that they argue over stem from being selfish over small, silly things (“Like Samoas,” he said), and that though their marriage isn’t perfect, the joys and blessings far outweighed the struggles and challenges. “We’re always reminded that marriage is a gift,” said Grace.

Then when asked why they wanted to serve in College Life, they said that it was because they had always wanted to serve Christ together as a couple and that the collegians were a group that they wanted to minister to because “it’s such an impactful time,” Grace said. Jin joked, saying that they had no choice but to serve in College Life because the Single Life ministry already had enough people serving in it. Still, they said that it’s been great and that they’ve constantly been learning a lot through serving in the ministry.
“I was thinking about that!” Jin exclaimed, when Grace said that Jin dances for her. They couldn’t quite pinpoint a single favorite quirk about each other. “She laughs at my stupid jokes – and she has a cute laugh,” Jin said with a smile, looking at Grace. Then turning back to look at me, she said, “And I love his silliness. He reminds me to just have fun.”

“Well, anything else that you’d like to add?” I asked them as the interview neared its end.

Jin reiterated that though their marriage is great and it’s such a big blessing, there are still challenges. Grace, too, reiterated that it is two sinners coming together. “But I think that we’re still in our honeymoon stage,” Jin said. Grace added that it is so crucial to put Christ as the center of their marriage and that they end the day in prayer together. “You really need to love and nurture.”

Chris Lim

by Grace Wu

Chris Lim first set foot in Lighthouse just nine months ago. Most would not be able to tell how new of a member he is by seeing his service in LBC. He is a part of the choir, the weekly running ministry, Care Ministry, and was recently selected to be a part of the Czech 2008 missions team.

The transition into LBC was not a difficult one for Chris. Many things helped him get adjusted: knowing Rob Lockwood and Jenny Chang from a previous small group, seeing what he saw as the genuineness of people in a church body, and having a small group leader who called in every week just to check in with him. Knowing that it was important to settle down and to be able to grow at a church, Chris did not think that his swift transition into the life of the church body was a hasty decision.

He got his first taste of a major LBC ministry project when he got the idea to put together four scrapbooks for the LBC elders in February. The idea came after his first members meeting in January, which was a somber experience for him. He saw the emotional fatigue of the leadership, perhaps from much criticism and discouragement.

However, instead of being disheartened by the experience, he decided to turn it into an opportunity to encourage and support LBC’s leadership at a much-needed time. “For leaders, criticism is always hard when you’re trying to do what’s right and you’re trying to fear God. Since words are powerful, they can be used to criticize and they can be used to build up,” Chris said.

It was then that the scrapby book idea blossomed into a church-wide effort in which the family ministry, single adults’ ministry, and collegians were able to all participate. Not only was coordinating a church-wide effort to encourage the elders a difficult task, but keeping it a secret was an even harder task. Even when the idea was brought before the rest of the elders as a way to encourage Pastor John, the rest of the elders thought it was exclusively for Pastor John. Ultimately, the scrapbooks turned out to be a surprise for the elders and their wives.

Chris is originally from New Jersey and spent his earlier years on the East Coast. He attended Boston University for his undergraduate education and majored in economics with a minor in business. After taking a year off, he went back to BU for graduate school. After several years of working on the East Coast, he decided to go West, mainly because his best friend from graduate school was from San Diego and he would visit out here on occasion to enjoy the sunny weather.

“I came to San Diego on my own volition. I got tired of heading back to the cold East Coast,” Chris said.

Chris, who now works as a financial planner in Mission Valley, was raised by faithful Christian parents.

“One of things I really appreciate about my parents—they’re Chinese but my parents didn’t bring us up in a very Chinese kind of household. It was more of a Christian household. They loved us equally but treated us differently in terms of our strengths,” Chris said. After Chris moved to San Diego from living on the East Coast, his parents followed him out West to live in Carlsbad. Even though his parents are now retired, they still consistently go on missions
in China.

The missions mindset of his parents certainly had some influence in Chris’ life as well. His college years were filled with missions trips to Poland, China, Korea, Daytona Beach, and Williamsport in Pennsylvania. Even though Chris has been out of college for over ten years now, his passion to serve the Lord did not leave him when he left the college scene. Instead, the same fervor to fulfill the Great Commission is still clearly present, whether in serving in LBC domestically or internationally on missions.

A Few Good Men

by Pastor John Kim

Many churches today are stricken with the same problem that has plagued many churches through the ages: the lack of godly men who are devoted to Christ. We see it most explicitly through the kind of leaders that often dominate the elder boards, pastoral pulpits, and committee heads; men who are more interested in furthering their own agendas and exercising worldly wisdom rather than wisdom from above (James 3:17). Instead of godly character, there is a conformity to earthly standards that mimic the culture rather than the standards that are found in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. Why is this so?

There is a lack of honorable ambition for godly leadership. J. Oswald Sanders, in his classic work Spiritual Leadership, opens the book with words on “An Honorable Ambition.” The term ambition is often tinged with an immediate sense of pride and self-centeredness that comes from the all-too-often stories of those who have exercised vain ambitions that are not seeking God’s glory. But there is a sense in which there can be an honorable ambition to be a spiritual leader, not so much because of an office but, as Sanders emphasizes, it is the function of leadership that makes it an honorable task. True leadership is never self-serving. From a Christian worldview, true leadership centers on bringing God glory through the pursuit of fulfilling the character and conduct that is required in order t make impact in the lives of people so that they would be encouraged and exhorted to follow Christ in an excelling way. It is not about seeking presige, power or the accolades of men. It is it take on the role of a slave that is utterly devoted to the King of kings and Lord of lords, to exercise delegated authority as defined by the Word of God and to influence people in appropriate ways that point people to Christ.

Jeremiah 45:5 states “But you, are you seeking great things for yourself? Do not seek them.” In its context, the prophet Jeremiah is speaking to Baruch, who was the faithful recorder that took down the dictation of the words of the Lord as spoken through Jeremiah. Baruch had set his expectations high regarding the future and the thoughts of impending judgement are a stark contrast to what he had hoped for. So Jeremiah warns him not to seek great things for himself but to be content with simply life itself.

There is a danger for seeking great things for our own agenda, even if they are good things in the sight of others. So we must definitely be careful of a self-seeking agenda that seeks to promote self-glory at the expense of God’s flory, no matter what the situation or issue might be.

But there is definitely a place where we are to seek great things for the glory of God and part of that happens through men embracing the role of spiritual leadership, to be diligent and devoted to the cause of CHrist to the point where they are willing to labor to the point of exhaustion and serve to the point of agony. It is not that there is any glory inherent in suffering. But to suffer for the purpose of serving our Savior – there is nothing that isn’t worth losing for the sake of the One who died and rose again on our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:15).

We are in need of such men in today’s generation, and we cannot afford to wait and see if some will rise to the challenge and answer the call. We must embrace it, here and now. You might say that you are not ready, that you are not capable, that you are busy, and that you have much to learn and you would be correct in all those assessments. Butthat is not what is at stake. The question is: are you willing to deny yourself, take up the cross, faithfully follow Christ daily and discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness so that you might be a vessel fit for the Master’s use? Will you seek to be a living and holy sacrifice that is acceptable to God and commit all that you do as worship to Him? Will you stop conforming yourself to this world and be continually transformed by the renewing of your mind through the Word of God illumined by the Spirit of God? Will you seek to become men of character so that you might become godly husbands and fathers that will raise a generation to the glory of God and teach your children the glories of our Sovereign Creator? Will you seek to be faithful members of Christ’s church and to contribute such time, energy, talents, and resources that God has given to you as a stewardship that you might build up the bdy of Christ? Will you faithfully be a witness and testimony of the gospel of Christ, from your home to the ends of the world? Will you be a true lover of God and people?

These questions and more all point to the gravity and the intensity it takes to courageously go against the flow of the status quo, even within the church, and rise up to be men of God who are sold out for the kingdom of God and who will only pursue the glory of God.

Will you be one of the few, the humble men of God who will leave his mark by choosing today whom you will serve? Pray about it. Then come talk to me. There’s a mission I would like to have you join. Seriously.

Book Review: 12 Ordinary Men

Book by John MacArthur

Review by Stephen Rodgers

In Twelve Ordinary Men, Pastor MacArthur does more than simply attempt to lay out a Biblical analysis of Jesus’ disciples. While an exegesis of their attitudes and actions is certainly found between the covers, he also traces God’s plan to perform His work through these oh-so-flawed agents; a plan made all the more remarkable and divine due to the utterly lacking nature of the disciples themselves.

Think about it for a moment: if you wanted to turn the world on its ear, and you were to pick twelve men to help you do it, and if you had any strategic sense or managerial talent…you would systematically AVOID picking the type of men that Jesus picked! Fishermen. A socially-reviled tax collector. A terrorist. These are not the sort of vocations and backgrounds that one imagines when one pictures the kingdom of heaven being advanced here on earth. But these are precisely the remarkable men that Jesus picked: men who were remarkable precisely of their complete ordinariness.

I had the privilege of actually attending Grace Community Church when Pastor MacArthur was going through the list of the twelve disciples from the gospel of Luke, so I thought I knew what to expect. I can remember sitting in the pews while he would say something like “Everything we know about Thomas comes from three passages in the gospel of John;” of course, it would then take two to three weeks to completely expound upon those verses! So I was prepared for a detailed analysis of the lives of these men. And yet, I had completely forgotten the first three rules of hermeneutics: context, context, context.

Don’t get me wrong: the details are there. You’ll learn more about the disciples, particularly Peter, Andrew, James and John than you ever thought you could know. You’ll understand why Nathanael would have been a terrible poker player. You’ll come to realize that an unremarked-upon miracle of Jesus’ ministry is that Simon never killed Matthew. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll fall in love with Thomas, the completely misunderstood disciple who arguably loved Christ more than any of them.

But ultimately, the disciples are not the point. To paraphrase a different Pastor John, “life is not about them either.” Rather, it is through them that we understand how Jesus made himself known to mankind, how he taught us, how we should (and shouldn’t) respond, what we should abandon, and who we should love. You see, this is a book about the contrast between the frail, unremarkable, relatively uneducated, powerless, socially stunted, flawed, sinful, and emotional disciples of Christ…and what can happen when the power of God gets a hold of just a dozen men like that.

And it should make us wonder what would happen if we let God get a hold of us like that too.

Invading the Homeschools

by Jennifer Shin

There is much controversy going on in the state of California, as there was a state appellate court ruling on February 28, mandating that parents who aren’t credentialed cannot educate their children at home. Legislators stated that parents do not have the constitutional right to teach their own children and that under the law, these children should be sent to public schools where they will receive instruction from credentialed and “qualified” teachers.

According to Justice H. Walter, who was one of three members of the district court to sign the opinion, “Parents who fail to [comply with school enrollment laws] may be subject to a criminal complaint against them, found guilty of an infraction, and subject to imposition of fines or an order to complete a parent education and counseling program.”

There are an estimated 166,000 students in California who are currently being homeschooled. If the decision isn’t appealed, then many parents will be considered offenders of the law and their children considered truants.

Teachers, especially those firmly rooted in the teachers’ union, stated that only credentialed teachers are qualified to teach. Others said that homeschooling is elitist and anti-democratic. Two professors emeriti at Cal Poly Pomona said in a Los Angeles Times article, “It’s evident that the vast majority who teach their offspring in front of the television do so because they don’t want their children to be subjected to such dangerous doctrines as evolution, abortion, global warming, equal rights and other ideas abhorrent to the evangelical mantra.”

This statement shows the blatant hostility toward parents who homeschool their children, especially those within the Christian realm. The two professors at Cal Poly Pomona and others who are supporting the decision mock these parents, stating that they “fear the contaminating influence of what is commonly known as a liberal education.” To them, it is a matter of being open-minded in a liberal society. For us as Christians, it is more than a matter of law or conforming to how the world thinks. In fact, in Romans 12:2, Paul states, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” It is not a matter of children being taught by “qualified” teachers but a matter of keeping their minds from being infiltrated with the world’s doctrines and being exposed to teachings that support evolution, homosexuality, same-sex marriage and sex education that contradicts God’s design.

Many Christian parents homeschool their children because what is taught at the public school contradicts what is taught in the home in alignment to God’s Word. A Christian parent in Sacramento stated in the Los Angeles Times, “I want to have control over what goes in my son’s head, not what’s put in there by people who might be on the far left who have their own ideas about indoctrinating kids.”

Ephesians 6:4 calls parents to “bring [children] up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Legislators and teachers are stating that parents are not qualified to teach their own children. But God declares that parents are the primary instructors in their children’s lives. We must keep in mind to be discerning in what we teach children, whether they are our own or not. Even what we teach is to be set apart from the world. Though we are called to submit to our earthly authorities, our ultimate authority is God and our perfect and complete source of instruction that is profitable for all things is His Word.


About

The Beacon is the monthly newsletter for Lighthouse Bible Church in San Diego, California. It covers a variety of subjects including LBC events, church history, current events from a Christan perspective, ministry profiles, and messages from our pastors and elders. To join the Beacon ministry, please contact Stephen Rodgers.

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