Archive for the 'Lighthouse News' Category

San Jose!

by Moon Choi

On January 25, 2009, Pastor John ended his sermon titled, “Make Disciples and God Plant a Church!” with a statement foreshadowing big news that would be broken at the members meeting later that evening. “It could be life altering for some,” he said before ending in prayer.

There was a lot of excitement and anticipation after the service ended. Some may have had no idea what he was talking about – others had heard things on the down low and made guesses. Whatever people’s knowledge of the situation was, they came with high energy to the members meeting, awaiting the potentially life altering announcement.

The meeting began with a very sober tone. But soon after, Pastor John made the announcement that the elders had decided during their retreat to pursue a church plant in San Jose. The announcement was met with loud cheers. A good number of members are originally from the San Jose area and some old members have moved back there but have had trouble finding a solid, Bible preaching church. “We have always considered the possibility of northern California,” Pastor John said. “But we were also considering other areas like Seattle or other major metropolitan areas.” He went on to mention that the elders felt as though it was finally time to act on our vision statement to plant churches.

There were a number of events and factors that culminated in the unanimous decision at the elders retreat. Mike Chon mentioned that while Pastor John took his leave of absence, Pastor Patrick was able to fulfill the role of senior pastor, giving him confidence in seeing him in that role indefinitely. Though you may think their discussion at the retreat was long and intense, Mike Chon said with a laugh that it was like a 20 minute discussion. Across the board, everyone had agreed that this was the proper course of action.

Even Peter Lim, the “voice of reason” among the elders, agreed. “As our church was approaching our 10 year anniversary, the elders were evaluating how well we had been doing on our MVP statement,” he said. They thought that the strongest area was the mission – making disciples with many people coming to know Christ in the past 10 years. The passion, to love God and people, was a weaker area within the church, resulting in 2009’s theme of “For the Love of Christ.” As for the vision, it had been carried out through short term missions to the Czech Republic and to Argentina which Peter said was “understandable for a church in its infancy” but said that they wanted to take a major step forward and actually plant.

Several different locations were in consideration. Pastor Patrick said that previously, they had tossed around the idea of Los Angeles, Seattle, even overseas to the Czech Republic or Argentina but that “these were just thoughts.” He had a feeling that once Pastor John came back from his leave of absence that he would want to plant a church. “By this time, I had figured it was a real possibility so I had already thought through it and prayed about it quite a bit,” he said. Then when Pastor John brought it up, they were able to talk about it. Though Pastor Patrick and Christine were willing to go, after talking to Pastor John, it just made more sense for Pastor John to go, as he was the visionary who kept moving forward and Pastor Patrick was fit to keep a programming running once it got started. “I know this is an overgeneralization, but it’s all to say that it made sense,” he said.

When Pastor John went to San Jose recently to speak at a college/singles conference, an arrangement that had been set up a year in advance, he realized that there weren’t many like-minded churches there, making it difficult for former Lighthouse members to receive the same teaching that they did in San Diego. There was a New Years potluck party with former and present Lighthouse members and people kept on asking whether they were going to plant a church in San Jose. “I could only reply that we needed to pray about it and that we were very hopefully in considering the possibility soon. I had also talked with my wife Angela as well as the kids to see if they would be supportive of the move.” This was a difficult decision, as their extended family was in San Diego, but regardless Pastor John’s family was excited.

As for the announcement of the church plant, Pastor John gave his perspective:

“I remember I was actually quite nervous as there were some other issues to address that were kind of a serious nature. But when it came time to actually share that we would plant a church, it almost became kind of like a movie scene and it felt really strange, almost a surreal kind of feeling that something very monumental was going to take place. So I gave the announcement and there were cheers from our congregation, probably the NorCal members being the most excited. But since I had kind of given a little preview in the morning service, there was actually quite a bit of anticipation and so it was really an exciting moment in our church’s history.”

Plans are moving forward. There have already been two interest meetings with more people than Pastor John had expected. Things are still in the preliminary planning stages as Pastor John has yet to become familiar with San Jose geography. During the second interest meeting on February 19, Pastor John asked a series of questions geared to get the minds focused on the purpose of the church plant. He emphasized that this church plant wasn’t an end to itself—rather, he looked to San Jose as a launching point for another church plant. He said that he didn’t want the next church plant to take 10 years. He called this a reproducing model, with a church being planted, growing as a baby would, then maturing, then reproducing. “Church planting is future-oriented with a multi-generational mindset,” he said. He pointed to Paul’s example and how missions was primarily planting churches. It’s a New Testament pattern, he said. Those who question church planting are questioning the New Testament. Before launching into his series of questions, Pastor John laid this principle down: “We’re going because we want to establish God’s redemptive plan.”

Among Pastor John’s series of questions, he asked for the number of the unsaved in San Jose. There was a silence before someone responded, “A big number.” He acknowledged that before asking if San Jose could use another church, though there were already churches there. He made it clear that it wasn’t about stealing sheep from other churches or even asking why we should plant a church if there were already churches there, he explained. As long as there are non-believers, we need to go because “there are people dying today who need to know the gospel.”

There were other questions but he prevalent theme of all of the questions and answers was trusting in God and praying desperately. Pastor John mentioned the early days of Lighthouse and said that there was a lot more prayer because everyone was desperate. There was even a fasting and prayer chain so that someone would be fasting and praying 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There was a desparate need to trust in God. Then he pointed that out that we still need to be desperate, all the time, because we are always completely dependent on God.

Toward the end of the meeting, Pastor John talked about how we can prepare for the plant. He asked the group how they could personally prepare. Response included continually growing, praying fervently, practicing evangelism, and loving the people here at Lighthouse. However, these weren’t just things for the goers to prepare for – Pastor John mentioned that the maintainers, the people who will remain at LBCSD, will also have to step it up. Peter Lim expressed this concern, “The more important question centered around the people who might be involved in actually leaving San Diego for this church plant and whether our church in San Diego would be strong enough to send out some people who were majorly involved in San Diego.” This was a point that Pastor John touched upon many times and even said that some of those who may be considering going may actually be called to be a maintainer.

We as Christians should all be striving to grow, to step it up in the local church, to be practicing a lifestyle of evangelism and simply loving others as Christ loves us. Pastor Patrick said, “Chris Mueller and I were talking at the recent college retreat about how much we would miss John. But it’s not like with other church situations where this is a bad break up. It would be wrong to even call it a split. This church planting effort would be the church working together to fulfill the Great Commission God’s way, through the vehicle of church planting. I’m excited to be a part of this and hope God will grant us success as He did when we first planted Lighthouse in San Diego.” This plant will require a high level of commitment. Pastor John firmly said at the end of the interest meeting that people will have to commit sooner or later and that the elders were looking for a group of people fully committed by this summer.

As for the actual plant itself, Pastor John is looking to early summer of 2010. He joked, saying that perhaps they will have a U-Haul at Jenna’s graduation with a banner on it that read, “Congratulations!”

PRAYER REQUESTS

It’ll only be by God’s grace that this church plant is successful. As Pastor John mentioned, we should always be in desperate prayer. This church plant is no different. Please pray for the following:

  • Spiritual growth and maturity for those who go
  • A willingness to be sacrificial, work to the point of exhaustion, and love God and people fervently from the heart.
  • That we would establish firm convictions regarding what a church looks like according to Scripture.
  • That we would all be prayerful.
  • For the San Diego home base to be supportive and willing to sacrificially invest in the San Jose plant.
  • That we would continue to be devoted to taking a stand on God’s word and to actively share the love of Christ.
  • That we find a good site that would be centrally located in San Jose between universities and neighborhoods that would create a true sense of community.
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Christmas Concert Preview

by Ed Yip

The air chills, clouds cover the skies, and snow prepares its descent on cities upon cities…except for San Diego. Christmas time is upon us once more. Though we might not count on snow to come to San Diego this year, one thing we can count on to come is the Lighthouse Christmas Concert. And with the concert comes hidden talents scattered throughout the church that come out of hiding once a year to perform and to encourage the body. Though the acts may change from year to year, it remains a great opportunity to bring believers and non-believers alike together to share in the true meaning of Christmas through performances and a full fledged Gospel presentation.

For those who are new to Lighthouse or have never been to a Christmas Concert, Christmas Concert is a wonderful time to celebrate Christmas with the church body and year after year has provided many highlights and memories for all. Two years ago, Eugene Park fondly recalled memories of a pianist known simply as “Ned Rip” who graced the piano to perform in what became the most epic mess up in Concert history. (But this writer would like to humbly remind you that the pianist is human and just as needing of God’s grace as the rest of you.)

That year, the LBC Orchestra performed, Eugene Park led the worship, the skit team performed, there was body worship, and of course a message from Pastor John. Last year, the LBC Orchestra performed once more and new talent was displayed once again. One of the performers, then-new member Obadiah Lee, had this to say about the night, “The performances were amazing! Eugene really did a wonderful job putting the choir and orchestra together, let alone the whole concert! The skit team put together a heartfelt drama that pointed the audience to Jesus…what more can I say?” Not much more, Obadiah, but if you think last year was good, wait till you see what’s in store for this year!

This year will be the first Christmas Concert in our new building and as the year comes to an end, what a fitting way this will be to remember God’s faithfulness to our church and in our lives. With Christmas time inevitably comes distractions from the true meaning of Christmas. If a befuddled Charlie Brown could once have trouble finding the true meaning of Christmas, it is likely that others could have the same trouble as well. This year, let Christmas Concert be the Linus to those Charlie Browns. Be it through song, dance, skits, or other kinds of performances, Lighthouse Christmas Concert has always been a time of great encouragement and entertainment to those who come, but most importantly, it has always been a time to reflect on the significance and glory of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Gospel. So invite your friends and family, believers and unbelievers for what will most assuredly be a blessed and Christ-centered Christmas Concert.

Fall Festival 2008 Review

by Jennifer Shin

Colorful decorations plastered all over the walls. The aroma of hot dogs, spicy chili, and sweets filling the air. Cardboard boxes fabricated into robots and Tetris pieces. The sound of balloons popping, DDR music jamming, and children laughing. These can only mean one thing – Fall Festival is here! Fall Festival is an exciting Halloween alternative that we have here at church each year, in which both kids and adults alike eagerly look forward to.

This year, our church building has been transformed into a Dr. Seuss wonderland. The walls and ceilings were covered with giant Cat-in-the-Hats, the Lorax, and rainbow-colored Truffula Trees.

Some sort of game station occupied almost every room in the church building. Kids and adults wandered from room to room, attempting to pop balloons with darts, decorating cookies, dancing to the rhythm of DDR’s techno music, and participating in the infamous Screaming Game. When asked what her favorite part of the Fall Festival was, Megan Yi said, “I think all of them. But I wasn’t doing the screaming game. I liked making cookies.”

As always, the highlights of the Fall Festival are the costumes. This year, we had an array of costumes, ranging from Top Gun characters to praise band equipment, Eugene Park included. This year’s winner for the woman’s solo costume award was Angela Kim, who was dressed from head-to-toe as one of the Power Puff Girls. Garrett Glende walked in covering the bottom half of his face with a cardboard fence, and won the men’s solo costume award as Wilson from Home Improvement. The group award went to all the ladies in the Alice in Wonderland crew. Of all the costumes, Megan liked her sister’s the best. “I think I really liked Aarolyn’s. And she was, like, dancing.”

When bedtime struck and all the children went home after a fun night, the adults stayed and partied on. It was a wonderful time for our whole church family to get together.

All-Church Retreat Review

by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

At a time when rest from the daily grind of school, work and other responsibilities become tedious, All-Church Retreat last month was a helpful time for many to come together as a church family and look afresh at Jesus Christ, the center of our faith, our Lord. This event gave many people in Lighthouse Bible Church to be in an environment to learn great truths from God’s Word together, and spend time reflecting on what was just preached.

Kurt Gebhards led the retreat in four sessions that looked to Christ, and our response to His life and character. The first message, titled “The Ironic Rest,” dealt with Matthew 11:28-30 and Jesus’ call for us to come to Him. Anthony Ngai believed this message to be the one that stood out for him: “I thought it was such a blessing to have it applied directly to our service in the church.” Lives were re-evaluated, and hearts were challenged to see whether they truly have come to Christ at all in their time spent at church. There was an awakening for many to see that life in the church directly reflects whether you are obeying Christ by being yoked with Him. Angelo Metra said, “I was provoked to examine my heart as to how I see my role as a servant in relation to Christ, to Lighthouse, my co-workers, and my family at home.”

The next three sessions then dealt with Christ, His act of humility, the Father’s act of exaltation, and our response. Going over Philippians 2:6-11, Pastor Gebhards explained the life of Christ on earth and in heaven as a “Great Parabola,” hence the title of the sermon. Jesus’ act of laying down the outer appearance of His deity to become a lowly servant, was the left side and low point of the ‘U’. From His being crucified, the Father hyper-exalted Him to His right hand, thus the parabola extending up again. His life now is to be an example for us to follow. Our attitude is to be like Christ’s, a self-denial of our interests. Caroline Shin expressed that “the sermons were a great reminder of Lighthouse’s motto, that life is not about you.” She also spoke on where change needed to take place: “I was challenged to work applying my service to others and putting their interests above my own in practical ways, starting with my apartment.”

These times were spent not only to reflect, but to respond and apply the messages as well. Many of the singles got to interact with the collegians, and vice-versa. New relationships formed, and old friendships were renewed. Courtney Chow explained, “It was a good time of reaching out to people I didn’t know and getting to know them and see what God’s been doing in their life.” The air might have been cold outside but the Christ-centered thoughts and conversations filled the room as people hung out and even played games to enjoy their time together. The talent show was also a hit with acts like “The Evolution of Pants” from Sunday Elementary staff, “Joo and the Gentiles” from the collegians, and song and dance from “High School Musical.” It was a sight to see with everyone being entertained and even challenged, from Keilah and Matthew Lim playing their own instruments to the children and youth singing songs of Scripture for the edification of the church. Such impact for the cause of Christ was concentrated at this retreat. With a question, I think Courtney expressed well for all of us to consider: “What am I contributing to the glory of Christ?”

All-Church Retreat 2008

by Courtney Chow

Take a deep breath and imagine you are drawing in the fresh mountain air with a touch of crisp autumn chill. It’s bright and early as you are about to have a warm breakfast before heading off to spend a refreshing hour in God’s word. It may sound too good to be true but its not. Each fall season, Lighthouse presents a unique opportunity for the church family to gather together for a full weekend called All-Church Retreat. This year it will take place on November 7-9 at Pine Valley Bible Conference Center.
All-Church Retreat is more than a tradition. It’s a precious opportunity for people across all affinity groups (children, youth, collegians, singles and families) to spend extended time together. When asked what her favorite part of All-Church camp was Cindy Chu replied: “the fact that the ENTIRE church family goes, and we’re all confined in one general area. It’s such a great time to fellowship, chit chat, and laugh hysterically with mothers, collegians, and singles.”
In addition to spending time together, “It’s a great opportunity to take a step back from the busyness in life and take time to reevaluate your spiritual walk and find new ways to challenge your spiritual growth,” said Chris Tou. A large part of that is due to the blessing of receiving teaching together. This year’s retreat will be focused on the theme of “In Christ Alone” and we will have the opportunity to learn from a guest speaker for the whole weekend. Our speaker, Kurt Gephards is the pastor overseeing the children’s ministry at Grace Community Church and shepherds the single adults’ ministry.
The festivities kick off on Friday night with a time of praise and the fun continues with messages, games, talent show on Saturday night, and corporate worship on Sunday morning. Maybe you’ve been attending Lighthouse for a few months and signed up but are a little nervous because this is your first time attending. Brian Song encourages you with some advice: “There’s always a lot of free time at our retreats and it’s prime time to get to know and encourage one another. If you’re a light sleeper, ear plugs are highly recommended. You never know what noises you’ll hear (both inside and outside the cabin) that may keep you up.”
Whether this is your first or fifth time attending, Chris Lim suggests: “Sit at different tables during the meal times to get to know new people. I think you’ll be surprised how friendly people are.” What do you talk about after you sit down at that table full of people you’ve never spoken to before? “Share what you’ve been learning at home and what you’ve been learning at the retreat. Share about random childhood stories. Share about your favorite thing to eat and make plans to go eat it together upon returning to San Diego. Just share!” said Cindy Chu. Jenna Kim echoed that sentiment, from a slightly different perspective: “I’d recommend for other youth to take advantage of the time to get to know the “old people” (i.e. above 18). It’s easy to just want to be by yourself and then feel sorry for yourself, but make it an opportunity to encourage the adults at church. In all cases I’ve tried, I’ve been very encouraged myself in getting to know the grown-ups. Grown-ups? We’d love to talk to you.”
Personally, I look forward to retreat all year long. I hope that all of you who attend will find the Lighthouse family to be a blessing as we continue to grow and praise our Lord together.

Take a deep breath and imagine you are drawing in the fresh mountain air with a touch of crisp autumn chill. It’s bright and early as you are about to have a warm breakfast before heading off to spend a refreshing hour in God’s word. It may sound too good to be true but its not. Each fall season, Lighthouse presents a unique opportunity for the church family to gather together for a full weekend called All-Church Retreat. This year it will take place on November 7-9 at Pine Valley Bible Conference Center.

All-Church Retreat is more than a tradition. It’s a precious opportunity for people across all affinity groups (children, youth, collegians, singles and families) to spend extended time together. When asked what her favorite part of All-Church camp was Cindy Chu replied: “the fact that the ENTIRE church family goes, and we’re all confined in one general area. It’s such a great time to fellowship, chit chat, and laugh hysterically with mothers, collegians, and singles.”

In addition to spending time together, “It’s a great opportunity to take a step back from the busyness in life and take time to reevaluate your spiritual walk and find new ways to challenge your spiritual growth,” said Chris Tou. A large part of that is due to the blessing of receiving teaching together. This year’s retreat will be focused on the theme of “In Christ Alone” and we will have the opportunity to learn from a guest speaker for the whole weekend. Our speaker, Kurt Gephards is the pastor overseeing the children’s ministry at Grace Community Church and shepherds the single adults’ ministry.

The festivities kick off on Friday night with a time of praise and the fun continues with messages, games, talent show on Saturday night, and corporate worship on Sunday morning. Maybe you’ve been attending Lighthouse for a few months and signed up but are a little nervous because this is your first time attending. Brian Song encourages you with some advice: “There’s always a lot of free time at our retreats and it’s prime time to get to know and encourage one another. If you’re a light sleeper, ear plugs are highly recommended. You never know what noises you’ll hear (both inside and outside the cabin) that may keep you up.”

Whether this is your first or fifth time attending, Chris Lim suggests: “Sit at different tables during the meal times to get to know new people. I think you’ll be surprised how friendly people are.” What do you talk about after you sit down at that table full of people you’ve never spoken to before? “Share what you’ve been learning at home and what you’ve been learning at the retreat. Share about random childhood stories. Share about your favorite thing to eat and make plans to go eat it together upon returning to San Diego. Just share!” said Cindy Chu. Jenna Kim echoed that sentiment, from a slightly different perspective: “I’d recommend for other youth to take advantage of the time to get to know the “old people” (i.e. above 18). It’s easy to just want to be by yourself and then feel sorry for yourself, but make it an opportunity to encourage the adults at church. In all cases I’ve tried, I’ve been very encouraged myself in getting to know the grown-ups. Grown-ups? We’d love to talk to you.”

Personally, I look forward to retreat all year long. I hope that all of you who attend will find the Lighthouse family to be a blessing as we continue to grow and praise our Lord together.

New Building Dedication Service

Written by Grace Mao Wu

April 6, 2008 went down in Lighthouse history as we had the Building Dedication Service to thank God for His provision in moving into our new building, as well as reunite with members, new and old for a celebration of where God has directed Lighthouse in the past 9 years.

During the morning service, the Snider family joined Lighthouse for worship. It began with Pam Snider playing the piano, followed by Dr. Andy Snider and two of his daughters singing together. Dr. Andy Snider then preached a message called, “The Key Ingredients of the Gospel.”

That evening during the actual Building Dedication Service there were even more visitors. Pastor Chris Mueller, who spoke at Lighthouse’s inaugural service in 1999, was the special guest again to help Lighthouse usher in a new beginning. Pastor Mueller’s message was titled, “How to Pick a Church,” which explained how one can know that Christ and Christ alone is the head of a church. The evening was an encouragement to Lighthouse as it was an affirmation of our ministry, but also a reminder to not lose our focus as the church grows larger.

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.


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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