Archive for February, 2009

Charter Member: Hwa Park

by Moon Choi

When Hwa first arrived in San Diego after coming from Maryland, there had already been a strong Christian base with believers from KACF (Korean American Christian Fellowship—the precursor to today’s CCM, an parachurch ministry found at UCLA, UCI, and UCSD), of which Peter Lim was a part of. Peter had already been leading a group of guys at the “old Dennison house.” Hwa then met John Yi and Eugene Park. To give a relative idea of how ten years ago felt like, Hwa also met Pastor Patrick Cho as a junior at UCSD and “guys like Mike, Min and Albert were seniors or had just graduated.” The mostly male collegians/singles (note that there is no distinction between the two) were guys who all lived together were like-minded with each, especially when it came to the gray area issues.

“Church was always a priority and Sunday was long and fun. There was no youth and Jenna was the oldest at about 6 years old.” Hwa also recalls that “in no time people started to come out and visit,” but also noted that the families that came to visit did not come back since there was not much of a children’s ministry. That was not the only challenge that the church faced in the early years. Hwa also mentioned how difficult it was for Pastor John as he had a full time job to support his family, on top of being the senior pastor. And though the shortage of ladies at Lighthouse had been a challenge for the men at Lighthouse, Hwa fondly remembered Suzie Jung and Beverly Kang who were still teenagers at the time. “I remember I used to help Suzie pick up and drop off the drum set every Sunday, it was backbreaking work but looking back, it was well worth it.” He could not recall any other challenges as “we had plenty of single men willing to do whatever it took for
the church” and mentioned that they were at church for half of the days of week “and it was great.”

In those early days, everyone in the church family knew each other and all the men were able to have Pastor John as their small group leader. Hwa said, “We were all single, no kids, no mortgage, ready to save the world” with which he quickly followed with, “But the current blessing of having a spouse, kids and even a home is pretty cool too.”

Through it all, Hwa points to God’s faithfulness and sovereignty in bringing the “right people at the right time” and even with the people who stayed at Lighthouse. He pointed out how Lighthouse was able to grow because the Titus 2 principle is actively applied and that when a new need arises, there are trained men and women ready to meet it. “It’s more exciting now than it has ever been,” Hwa said, referring to being able to see the church grow, people getting married and having children.

As for any lingering nostalgia for the good ole days? “The good old days were good but aren’t all that great. Life gets better every year and His blessings abound evermore. Yeah, the small church was great, we played golf every week and played ball without checking with the wife but now I have a foxy wife and all the benefits that come with that, a daughter who thinks her daddy is the kind of the world and now a son that pees all over the place, can’t get much better than this…”

Charter Member: Eugene Park

by Courtney Chow

It may be hard to imagine Lighthouse when it started with only three families who were praying about planting a church in San Diego. While everyone can research the facts of the early Lighthouse years, Eugene Park, a charter member was there when the church started in 1998. Though he is currently studying Spanish in Argentina until July, he was still able to give The Beacon the low down on what LBC was like in the beginning.

Where were you shortly before coming to LBC and how did you decide to become a part of Lighthouse?

I grew up at a local Korean church in the San Diego area and was really involved in the leadership as well as the praise ministry within the Englishspeaking congregation. However, after serving there for years, I grew increasingly frustrated with the difficulties of serving in a ministry that was under the umbrella of another ministry. I was also concerned about some of the doctrinal stances the church took on some issues. So one day in February of 1998 I decided that it would be best for me to move on and find another church I could serve at. I continued to serve as well as training people to do the things I did over the next 6-7 months…my intention was to leave on the last Sunday of August.

My plan was to visit churches the last 4 months of the year and then commit to one and serve at that church starting in 1999. Because of my frustrations with working in a Korean church, my intention was to go to a non-ethnic church and those were the sort of churches I visited. I heard about LBC because a lot of my friends from the on-campus ministry we served in were planning on going to that church. I really didn’t want to go because I was just done with the Asian church scene but John Yi dragged me to the bible studies LBC had during the midweek. Over time I grew to love the teaching and the fellowship. And even though I was still attending other churches on Sundays, I was longing for the fellowship and teaching at the LBC bible study. By November my mind was made up, LBC was where I was going to serve. And so on December 6, 1998 LBC had its first official Sunday service (A popular trivia question!)

What was it like when the church first started?

When we first started we were meeting in the afternoons at a church located in a business park in Mira Mesa. They let us use one of the bigger rooms upstairs for our Sunday services. Min Chol and I were in charge of the sound team and had to setup all the equipment each Sunday. One of our “prized” possessions was a tape deck we used to record the sermons. Eugene Cho (who has since moved back up to L.A.) was our first praise leader for Sunday services. The Sunday praise team had quite a few members, including John Yi, Angela Kim, Jane Min (later to be Kim), and Patrick Cho and when they went up it seemed like half the church was up there. Our services typically had around 20 people which included the 5 or so kids. So it was definitely small and newcomers stuck out like a sore thumb.

What were some of the challenges in the beginning?

One of the more humorous challenges we had in the beginning was that the singles group was made up of all men, maybe around 8-10 of us. There were some ladies in college, but there were no women in the singles group. And it was said more than once (but not by me), “How are we ever going to get married?” Occasionally single ladies came to the church. But after seeing the overabundance of men in the singles group, they quickly moved on to another church. Or one would visit our singles bible study during the week and that made for a really weird dynamic. Pastor John kept saying to us, “Be patient, be godly, and she will come.” And sure enough, one by one, almost all of those original men got married…almost… :)

What were some things that were blessings in the early years?

Same thing, it was just men in the singles group. When you have a church that small in the beginning, and a small group of men that dedicated to learning God’s Word, and all a part of something we started together, you can’t help but have a strong brotherhood.

Persecution Unbounded: Ignoring the Obvious

by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

From restaurants to fast-food places for breakfast, lunch and dinner seems to be a daunting task for many of us. Enjoying a multi-hyphenated concoction of coffee at a local Starbucks or perusing the Internet at incredible speed would typically be the norm for many a single adult or collegian wanting to spend a productive day reading God’s Word, while listening to the latest album by Chris Tomlin. This looks like the typical day for a Christian in the comforts of San Diego.

Easily this can lead to a reprimand of all things technological or an issue of having biblical priorities, but this isn’t the road I’m taking. The reality of persecution within the body of Christ seems to be furthest from our minds, especially since its absence in the media never makes mention of the constant attacks from many who seek to dethrone Christ’s authority within their respective countries. In the wake of the Olympics in China this past year, a slight murmur came out over the fact that many believers were, and still are, being pursued to silence from proclaiming Christ, beating, arresting, and threatening many with death. Pastor “Bike” Zhang Mingxuan, his wife and family were arrested and held in captivity in a hotel until the international athletic events had ended. Only then did people respond, as China was, for a small amount of time, under watchful eyes. Not too long after the frenzy and excitement was gone did the son of that pastor received an intense beating by Public Security Officials.

The scope of this brutality is too large for us to consider when we begin to hear some of the stories that come out from lands where to read a Bible openly or to pass tracts could lead to your potential death. Yet, this is the blessing that Jesus Christ Himself gives to anyone who hears: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10).

This is the hope that drew a woman, “Laila,” away from her abusive husband in the Middle East to embrace Christ as her Savior and Lord. She left and returned to her family in the United States, who were Muslims. They threatened her repeatedly to renounce Christ, which she knew she could not do. This is the result of one who truly leaves everything, their familial background and their sins, to follow Christ wholeheartedly.

Life is being given to those who are living for Jesus, cherishing their only Bible, digging into its contents and doing the work of God in countries where people can easily be taken away, and opposition is strong. The Scriptures are clear for us as well: “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body” (Hebrews 13:3). We must hurt with those who are hurting, with believers who can without difficulty lose heart in worshipping Christ openly, and without fear. We must remember their acts of courage in standing up for the truth even when no one else will, for the sake of honoring God and spreading the aroma of Christ to those who don’t believe and are unrepentent.

Learn the struggles that our brothers and sisters are facing now, at this moment. When guerilla fighters are hunting for you, is not your desire for deliverance? For their hearts to burn for Christ, and also that others would be praying for you? The Word of God has already spoken: “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:29). A biblical view of loving one another must include the sharing of sufferings, theirs as well as our own. Read biographies that display lives of faithfulness in times of faithlessness like that of Esther Ahn Kim and Richard Wurmbrand. Discover ways you can support the universal church through ministries like Compassion and Voice of the Martyrs. We must take action in supporting and truly loving the brethren, as well as ours and their enemies, in ways that show Christ is more significant than our iPods. Persecution is rampant; can our love be as unbounded as Christ’s? Let’s show the world a tiny glimpse of that, and “all people will know that you are my disciples” (John 13:35).

Book Review: Worldliness

Book by C.J. Mahaney

Review by Patrick Cho

I honestly didn’t think I had a problem with worldliness. And then I read this book. Worldliness, edited by C.J. Mahaney, presents a deeply challenging call to the church to repent of worldliness and walk in holiness. The book tackles issues such as how we prove our worldliness in our entertainment, possessions, and attire. Covering just about every facet of life, this book causes the reader to conduct a thorough self-examination. I have cautioned several people about this book, “Don’t read it if you don’t want your life to change.”

Take a minute to consider your own life. What shows have you watched on TV this week? What movies have you recently enjoyed? How do you determine what clothes you will buy? Do you ever consider what clothes you should not buy? These questions and more reflect the way we view the world. God calls each believer to holiness. This holiness is not compartmentalized or reserved for certain areas of life. It is absolutely comprehensive. The authors of this book do an excellent job of walking through Scripture to prove that all of life matters. God wants it all.

What I appreciated most about Worldliness is that it was not chock full of dos and don’ts. It didn’t contain a list of movies that were approved for believers. It didn’t direct believers to clothing stores that are safe. As it should have, the book addressed the heart. If a believer struggles to put away the things of the world and not love the world, the issue begins in the heart. No one forces you to dress in a particular way. No one chooses television programs for you to watch. These are choices that reflect what is going on inside. The battle really is one for the heart. Getting rid of your TV or not going to movies will not solve the problem if the problem is within. Legalistic rules will not save a person.
One must turn to Christ and depend on His work on the cross to have any chance in battling worldliness. This is why this book is so helpful. It provides answers that work and can change lives.

The book also provides a particular challenge to women in the way they dress. This is evident from the appendices that are included. One appendix is a modesty check, which was written by Carolyn Mahaney, et al. The other is an appeal to women to consider the glory of God when shopping for wedding dresses and bridesmaids’ dresses. This is one particular area that I personally never considered before. You can actually glorify God in the wedding dress you select!

I would particularly recommend this book to anyone who doesn’t think they have a problem with worldliness. I would challenge them to read this book and see if they could come to the same conclusion afterward.All of us struggle with worldliness. This is why a book like this is so helpful and necessary for today’s church.

Book Review: Why We’re Not Emergent (By Two Guys Who Should Be)

Book by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck

Review by Stephen Rodgers

Why We’re Not Emergent (By Two Guys Who Should Be) by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck is a very thoughtful, well-researched, and eminently readable text on the “emergent” church (although the authors acknowledge a distinction between emergent and emerging, they relegate such distinctions as beyond the focus of the book). The book is written in a tagteam effort by a pastor from Michigan (DeYoung) and a sports magazine writer (Kluck). The two alternate writing their chapters, with DeYoung providing solid theology with an emphasis on footnotes, and Kluck providing solid theology with an emphasis on experience and sarcasm. And while you’ll probably favor one over the other, they’re both worth listening to.

It’s obvious that the authors spent years preparing for this book. The bibliography alone ranges for almost a dozen pages, and they frequently quote speeches, conferences, and classes that they attended—many offered by several of the more well-known voices in the emergent movement. This is not a one-sided polemic out to sucker-punch a straw man. While they deal with such topics as the journey/destination paradigm, the value of propositions vs. dialogue, caricatures of both emerging Christianity and Modern Christianity, orthopraxy vs. orthodoxy, disputed doctrines as penal substitution and the wrath of God, and the role of (postmodern) culture, they are just as likely to fire a salvo at the more traditional forms of Christianity as the emergent ones if they feel that either has strayed from Biblical teaching. As one author writes, we “need to know that decisions can (and should) be made based on Scripture and not just experience.”

What I found to be suspiciously timely was the final chapter, which, I admit, I read approximately two hours before this article was due. My procrastination notwithstanding, it blew my mind. Entitled “Eavesdropping on Asia Minor,” DeYoung briefly categorizes and identifies the traits present in the seven churches from Revelation, paying special attention to Pergamum and Thyatira as examples of the emergent community, and Ephesus as indicative of the more Reformed/strict orthodoxy community (sound familiar?). He then uses that as a springboard to highlight not only the weaknesses that Christ condemns, but the practices that He commends. And while those weaknesses are clearly visible in many emergent communities, so are the virtues. There is room for improvement on both sides.

In conclusion, if you’re interested in learning more about the emergent church movement, this is a must-read book. It manages to be informative without falling into academia, humorous without becoming insubstantial, and seeks not so much to attack or vilify a movement as it does to educate and promote thought. The hope, however, is clearly that all such reasoning would not be based upon experience, culture, “success” criteria, or a never-ending societal dialogue, but rather the authority of Scripture as the very Word of God.

The MVP of LBC in 2009

by Pastor John Kim

As 2009 is our ten year anniversary, I think it is only appropriate to take a little stroll down memory lane as well as look forward with anticipation to how God will lead and direct us in the future. It was in the spring of 1998 that we started meeting as three families, praying that God would be gracious to us as we started preparations for what would become Lighthouse Bible Church. Even the name was a bit of an adventure to come up with as we started off with Morningstar Bible
Church, only to find out that “Morningstar” was the name of a pretty large Charismatic organization that we probably didn’t want to be associated with by others. We then tried Cornerstone Bible Church, only to find out that there were alreadyquite a few of them. So we decided on Lighthouse Bible Church. That summer found us starting a Bible study with about 15 people or so meeting at the home of Peter and Jinny Lim. Those were wonderful days as everybody was excited and enthusiastic about the possibilities for the future. Even though we had humble beginnings and even humbler resources, at least from a human vantage point, we had the hopes of our great God doing above and beyond what we could ask or think (Ephesians 3:20-21). If this was going to be Christ’s church, then only with Christ being the head as well as the provider would our dream of a church-plant be realized.

Ten years have now come and gone and we find ourselves in quite a different state from 1998. We have moved to a new facility, so for our newer members, the new site is their only point of reference. Out of our original 17 charter members, 11 still remain but we have almost 200 additional members at the church who have committed themselves to support what Lighthouse represents. We have a lot of babies in the nursery—around 20 with more to come. We have a large contingent of single adults who probably comprise the largest group at our church. We started a campus Bible study at UCSD and are in the process of reaching out to SDSU and other campuses. We have two ongoing international partnerships in the Czech Republic and Argentina that have brought tremendous joy as we have been able to grow a relationship with the churches in Ostrava and Tucuman. We have also gone through many difficulties and trials. The past couple of years have brought waves of grief that I had never experienced before and have reminded me of my utter dependence on God’s mercies. The conflicts and the breakdowns within various relationships have shown me that without God’s love, we are doomed to dissolution. Even with a commitment to strong doctrine, hard work, and perseverance through hardships, without a fervent and passionate love for God and people, it is all for nothing (Revelation 2:1-7, 1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

So the Passion Statement has become all the more precious to me (Matthew 22:37-40). It must be the driving force behind our Mission Statement—to make disciples of Christ. Disciple-making is hard work and it is often discouraging and frustrating because it involves people in need of change helping people in need of change, and both are going to be challenged with human frailties as well as the sin of our selfishness blinding us to our need to grow spiritually. So we must be constantly reminded of the love of God in Christ through the cross. The love of God is what needs to be the foundation as well as the empowering source to love others. The Mission can only happen with the Passion. Without the Passion, the Mission simply becomes a task that will ultimately fail because it will be devoid of a heart.

The Vision Statement is to plant churches. We have talked about it. We have prayed about it. Now it’s time to actually act upon it. As was announced this past members meeting, it is our hope to plant a church in the San Jose area by the summer of 2010. It is exciting yet sobering. The pursuit of this endeavor will reveal our church for what kind of heart we have as well as what kind of resolve we will have to be true to our Passion and Mission Statements. But there is something different this time from ten years ago. Ten years ago we had no supporting church. We had very little financial and material resources. We have very few people and a lot of opposition even within the San Diego church community. The odds were daunting and the chances of succeeding were slim. But by God’s grace and power, He has brought us to where we are now. He has indeed done above and beyond what we could ever ask or think. But He is not finished. The work of the kingdom is not going to be
finished until all is fulfilled within God’s redemptive plan. So as followers of Christ, if we are going to be the living sacrifices of Romans 12:1, if we are going to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness as Matthew 6:33 states, if we are going to have the love of Christ control us so that we no longer live for ourselves but for the One who died and rose again on our behalf as 2 Corinthians 5:15 so clearly calls for, it behooves us to no longer be passive or apathetic to what the MVP of LBC represents. I charge you as the congregation of Lighthouse Bible Church—rise up and fulfill your calling! Make the most of your time because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:16) and offer up everything you do, even your eating and drinking to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). We do not have time to waste so don’t waste your life away with the pursuits of worldly gain. Take all that God has given you and be a good steward and if God has blessed you, do good works that would magnify His name (1 Timothy 6:17-19) and have an eternal perspective. Don’t lay up treasures here on earth but invest them for God’s heavenly purposes (Matthew 6:19-21).

Let’s, above all, be in prayer for our church. Please pray Ephesians 3:14-21 and Philippians 1:9-11. Read those passages and write them down somewhere so that you can be reminded to pray often. Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Pray that we be faithful to be a solid sending church. Pray that we would be hopeful as a church-planting church. We need everyone at Lighthouse to step it up and fulfill their calling as members. Love Christ with all your heart, soul, and mind and let that love manifest itself in expanding ways to the point where we share that love with places that are in need of gospel-preaching churches that will shine the love and truth of Christ brightly.

Praise God for ten years of His faithful and sovereign care. Let’s press forward by the grace of God.

Editor’s Note: February 2009

by Steven Hong

It’s quite an exciting time in the life of our church. 2009 marks the 10 year anniversary of Lighthouse Bible Church. As celebration is a large part of God’s people in His Word, we will certainly celebrate. Yet, we don’t celebrate the faithfulness of any one person or group of people, but we celebrate the faithfulness of a great God and His tremendous grace in the life of our church.

Yet, as we commemorate God’s faithfulness in the past, we do so in great anticipation of the immediate future. With the recent announcement of Lighthouse Bible Church San Jose, there is certainly an extra buzz in the body. As Pastor John mentioned at the momentous members meeting, the decision brings “feet to our vision to plant churches.” Let’s be in prayer that God would give our leaders an extra measure of wisdom as we move forward.


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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