Archive for the 'Pastor's Corner' Category

My Pastor, My Example?

by Pastor JR Cuevas

“in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” (1 Timothy 4:12)

I recall several conversations I had with seasoned pastors when I was on the brink of graduating from college – contemplating the idea of applying to seminary and pursuing a vocation in full-time ministry. Having heard the saying, “If you can see yourself doing anything else, do it…because being a pastor isn’t for everyone,” I entered into these conversations with the agenda of asking these godly men what it is about pastoral ministry that made the job so difficult. I heard many of the same things from them:

“You have to be one who does all out of a love for God,” some would say.

“You have to be a man who seeks the approval of God and not man at all times,” another would counsel.

“You need to discipline yourself more than you ever have before,” one would exhort.

“Your heart for people must be so big that you are willing to give your life up even for the most difficult of them,” another would warn.

One that particularly stood out was:

“You have to be able to live for your heavenly rewards, and be willing to forsake all earthly things.”

After pondering their counsel and after much prayer, I began to realize that the things that these men were saying all had nothing to do with skill, but everything to do with character. Or, more specifically, they had everything to do with godly character. As I prayed and wrestled with my emotions, I realized that – pastor or no pastor – I was called to pursue these character qualities that these men were remarking about, for as a Christian I was called to discipline myself for the purpose of godliness. In a nutshell, they were saying: “Being a pastor is so difficult, because in order to be one you really have to be like Christ!”

And, unless you call yourself an unbeliever, don’t we all? When Paul instructed Timothy to be an example – in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity – he called him to be so to all those who believe. The implication: Timothy was a model to be imitated not only by the other pastors and elders, but by the older men, younger men, older women, younger women, children, and widows. In other words, everyone – not just the leaders – were called to look to Timothy as their model for living. Why is topic of such importance today? It is because many in the church fail to see pastors as their examples. They see them as great preachers of the Word to be listened to, but when it comes to everyday living many a lay-person would deem the examples that their pastor puts forth as simply impractical for them. We’ve heard it too often: “It’s great that Pastor Bill does that, but he’s a pastor! You can’t expect me to do the same thing!” Because the congregation is deemed to consider their pastors and leaders as worthy of double honor, people often mistakenly place them on unfair pedestals. It often shows in either an overflow of criticism every time a pastor errs, or in a lack of emulation whenever a pastors excels. Pastors, as well as great men of the faith, are many times seen as figures to be admired, rather than as examples to be emulated. They are deemed as passionate men to be flattered, rather than as practical models to be followed. Sometimes, it’s as if there are two different Jesus figures to be conformed to: one for the pastors and leaders, and another for the lay-people.

But there is one Christ, and He alone is the head of the church. He alone is to be emulated, for those who follow Him are called to walk in the same manner that he walked. The Jesus that pastors are called to conform themselves to is the same Jesus that the rest of the church is called to emulate. He’s the same Jesus whom Jonathan Edwards and Charles Spurgeon followed. He’s the same Jesus whom Jim Elliot followed. He’s the same Jesus whom Paul followed. Thus, when we look at the exemplary lives of our senior (or associate) pastors and the great men of the faith, we are called to do more than to give them our applause while sitting back and excusing ourselves from doing the same thing. Rather, they do what they do so that we may look at them and say, “as a fellow follower of Christ, I shall do the same.” Practically, the pastors life is different from that of a lay person. A pastor is called to preach weekly; a lay-person is not. A pastor usually spends most of his work hours in the church; they lay-person spends most of his at a secular workplace. But though the practical outworking of things may be different, the essence of the example is the same. The faithfulness that a pastor shows to his people is the same faithfulness that every lay-person should exhibit. The sacrificial love that a pastor shows to his congregation should be exhibited by the latter to the same degree. The dignity and discipline of conduct that a pastor is called to is the same dignity and discipline that any other person in church is called to exhibit in his or her life. Thus, let us all give our leaders the honor and respect that God wills for us to give them, and let us do so by striving hard to emulate their example.

Looking Forward to 2010

by Pastor John Kim

As I write this article, I am sitting at a Barnes and Noble as our family has a little time together before we go to the Student for Christ Winter Conference where I will be speaking for the college and singles of a number of various churches that gather each year for this event. I was privileged to speak last year for the first time and was invited to return again this winter to speak on the theme of the cross-centered life. Angela was also asked this time to speak to the women about the role of women in the home and church and so it is a great blessing for us to have this opportunity.

But more than just another speaking engagement, this conference reminds me that there are many out there who are yearning to receive Biblical instruction and encouragement and God is gracious to use those of us who are not really the headline speakers to do the simple yet important work of preaching God’s Word and building relationships with those who our outside the comfort of our own congregation. I believe that the priority of the local church is to really build up the church congregation so that the church would make an impact in the world, both locally as well as abroad. This is not a perfect process nor are we always able to avoid the difficulties and challenges that come with the process. Yet I am confident that God continues to provide all that we need so that we might grow together as a church family here in San Diego.

This upcoming year is also the year in which we extend the MVP of LBC and trust that God will propel us forward in the planting of a church in San Jose. I am filled with some measure of a bittersweet feeling as it will be sad to leave beyond the ministry in San Diego with all the relationships and ministries that our family has invested in since the beginning. Yet we are also excited for the opportunity to act upon the MVP of the church by extending the Great Commission to San Jose to make disciples of Christ by planting a church in a place where there is a great need for more Bible churches that are gospel-centered. We hope to continue to live passionately in our love for God and people as we build relationship and reach out to the lost as well as to provide fellowship and encouragement for believers who desire to really grow. Just being here in San Jose as I write these words gives me great hope that God will allow us to start up this summer as we prepare to move.

As we had an informal LBC dinner gathering last night in Daly City, I was also reminded of how important it will be to continue growing in San Diego. There were a number of members who shared that they are kind of sad that there are a number who are leaving just as they are getting to know them. Yet they were also anticipating how others will step up and fill in the gap for those who leave and this is something that I am excited for as well. The church in San Diego must provide a strong launching pad for the San Jose church plant to take off and the spiritual health of the home church will in many ways impact and affect the church plant as it moves forward. So with this in mind, I would like to ask everyone to consider a few things as we look forward to the transitions that will come in 2010:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

  1. Rejoice always in what God is doing. As we are confident that God is sovereign and that He is working all things out for good, we can always find reasons to rejoice, both in the continued affirmation of God’s character as well as in His faithfulness to accomplish His good purposes.
  2. Pray without ceasing. It goes without saying that we need to be praying. But let’s be specific in our prayers, both for the San Diego ministry as well as the San Jose church plant. Pray that people would truly live out their faith and trust God with the future. Pray that we will trust God with His provision for all that is needed. Pray that we as a church family would seek to be united in spirit and intent on one purpose. Pray that we would discern the spiritual attacks that will come and be ready with the armor of God. Pray that we would keep focused on living out the MVP and that we would all be teachable and humble as we press on.
  3. Gives thanks in all things. When we find ourselves thankful, it usually means our eyes are off ourselves and fixed on Christ. A complaining heart usually reveals a selfishness and a desire for self-fulfillment at the expense of God and others. So before you are quick to raise a complaint or criticism, take a moment to see if you could give thanks specifically for at least five things that would truly be God-honoring. I think for myself it is usually a good indicator of how I am doing spiritually when I assess my “thanksgiving gauge” and if I am more of a complainer or giver of thanks.

We have much to be thankful for as we look back on almost eleven years of our church’s existence. But instead of dwelling on the past, let us strain forward, forgetting what lies behind and pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).

Looking forward to 2010!!

A Quiet Time of Discipleship

by Pastor JR Cuevas

If you abide in My Word, then you are truly disciples of Mine

The great men of the faith deemed it as the Christian soldier’s most important activity. It’s that activity in which a believer can experience strength, comfort, conviction, encouragement, and exhortation all at the same time. It’s that activity in which, when one is engaged in it regularly and intimately, he finds himself exhibiting a sustained joy and strength even through the most painful of afflictions. And it’s the one activity that, when you ask a seasoned pastor what the secret is to spiritual growth, you are counseled never to neglect. Yet, the failure to engage in this activity can lead to disastrous outcomes for even the believers whom we consider the strongest. It’s the activity that, though is ever so vital to the believer’s life, is so often neglected or pushed off to a more convenient time. I’m referring to the hub of the Christian life. I’m referring to the beliver’s time alone with God. I’m referring to the believer’s “quiet time.”

As a pastor, not only are constantly trying to help people fight their spiritual battles; you’re busy trying to fight your own. Now, it would be fair to conclude that people don’t always go through the same circumstances, and don’t always respond to those circumstances in the same way. But one thing is certain; a lack of growth and fervor in the beliver’s life can always be traced back to a lack of intimacy in his relationship with the Lord. And a lack of intimacy with the Lord can usually – if not always – be traced back to a consistent dryness in one’s quiet times. If this time with God is so crucial, then why is it that Christians of all walks of life – from the neophytes to the church leaders – find themselves struggling staying fervent and faithful in this particular area of their lives? Perhaps it’s because Satan understands the importance of it, and subtlely attacks it without the Christian knowing so. And perhaps he does it through seeping in faulty perspectives into the Christian’s mind as to how to approach his time of solitude, whether it be in the morning or evening.

Why is it that all Christians find it a struggle to maintain discipline in their times with God? Perhaps it’s because they view their quiet times as that and only that – a discipline. Time spent in the Word and in prayer is viewed simply as an exercise of the mind and heart with the same type of discipline with which one exhibits when he goes for a jog or diligently completes his homework assignments. I’m not here to say that having good quiet times doesn’t involve discipline. It does – and requires more so than other endeavors. For others, the quiet time is a “devotional” time – and just that. It is viewed simply as a time when a believer can channel the deepest of his emotions and desires towards God. Again, I’m not here to say that having a good quiet times doesn’t involve devotion, for it does indeed. Yet, while we often associate quiet times with the terms “discipline” and “devotion,” one must ask: how often do we associate quiet times with the word “discipleship?” Simply put, when was the last time you referred to the hour you spent reading your Bible and praying to God as the hour of the day when Christ was discipling you? That we don’t refer to quiet times as times of discipleship may be a result of our forgetting that the quiet time was meant to be a time in which two parties – not one – are present: you and God.

But the quiet time should be viewed one’s time of discipleship with the Lord because, simply put, that’s exactly what it is. Discipleship involved two parties – the discipler and the disciplee. The quality of the discipleship, then, depends on both – not just one – of them. The discipleship will not take place when one party is absent. The quiet time for the Christian, similarly, involved two parties – himself and God. For during those times, God is present with you and you alone – comforting you, convicting you, encouraging you, and teaching you to conform more like His Son through the power of His Spirit. The Word of God is in fact living and active, not dead and static. Consider this change in perspective: It’s not so much about what you’re reading as it is what He’s saying. It’s not so much about what you’re learning, as much as it is about what He’s teaching you. It’s not so much about your spending time with Him as much as it is His spending time with you. Let’s humbly face the reality that the quality of our quiet times depends not on our personal discipline and resolve as much as it depends on God’s faithfulness to opening up our hearts and inclining them to understand His Word. It’s not about our works as it is about His grace. It’s not so much about how we have focused our hearts on God as much as it is how He has inclined our hearts to want to listen to His Word. Thus, instead of asking yourself, “what did I read today,” ask yourself, “what did He tell me today, through His word?” Instead of asking, “how have I been praying,” start asking yourself, “how has God been answering my prayers?” View your reading Genesis as the time when God is reminding you of how things came to be. View your reading Proverbs as the time when God is imparting His wisdom onto you. View your time in 1 Peter as God’s letter to you to remain steadfast through times of affliction and persecution.

To conclude, I’m not denying the reality of personal commitment and faithfulness in cultivating a quiet time. But I am advocating a change in perspective for many of us – including myself. It’s time to start seeing this “hub” of the Christian life as a time of discipleship between God and you. Acknowledge Him. Revere Him. Depend on Him.

Be Worthy of God?

by Pastor Patrick Cho

As you read through the New Testament, certainly you will come across some verses that are difficult to understand, particularly in the writing of Paul. (You can breathe a great big sigh of relief since this was Peter’s assessment of Paul’s writings as well [2 Pet. 3:16]!) Every once in a while, however, you come across passages in the Bible that make you do a double take and say, “What?!” 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 is one of those passages. Paul writes, “[11] For you know how, like a father with his children, [12] we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.” Yes, he said “worthy of God.” The Greek word for worthy is axiōs and is derived from the idea of balancing something in a scale. But certainly Paul isn’t telling the Thessalonians that if God were on one side of a scale, they were to live as though they could balance out the other side! Who could live up to such a demand? Borrowing from the Old Testament idea of glory (Heb. kabōd; “weightiness”), no one is heavier than God!

Interestingly, the word axiōs is used throughout Scripture and is translated in a few different ways. The first (and expected) translation of the word is “worthy.” It is this sense of the word that one would typically understand the idea of worthiness. John the Baptist said that he was not worthy even of untying Jesus’ sandal (John 1:27). The prodigal son confessed that he was no longer worthy to be called a son (Luke 15:19). In the Book of Revelation, again as one would expect, the term is used to speak of God’s worthiness of worship (Rev. 4:11; cf. 5:12 where it is used of Christ).

The second translation of the word is “deserving” and it is translated thus frequently in texts dealing with deserving judgment or punishment (cf. Luke 12:48; 23:15; Acts 23:29; Rom. 1:32). In Luke 23:41, for example, the thief on the cross confesses that, unlike Christ, they were receiving what they deserved because of their deeds. It is not exclusively used in that context, though. For instance, in Luke 10:7 when Jesus is commissioning the seventy to preach about the kingdom of God, He says that the laborer is deserving, or worthy, of his wages. Paul also argues that elders are deserving of double honor (1 Tim. 5:17).

A third use of the word is where it is translated “worthy” in the sense of comparison. In Romans 8:18, Paul writes that the sufferings of this world are not “worth comparing” with the glory to come. The fourth and final way this word is translated is the way it should be understood in 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12. It is the idea of “fitness” or “appropriateness.” In 2 Thessalonians 1:3, Paul says that he should give thanks to God for the church because it would be fitting given the way they had grown in faith and love. In Matthew 3:8, John the Baptist rebukes the Pharisees and Sadducees and tells them to bear fruit in keeping with repentance (cf. Luke 3:8). The fruit would be consistent with true repentance. By the absence of fruit in the Pharisees’ lives, their lack of repentance was made evident. This was the same message of repentance that Paul preached to the Gentiles (Acts 26:20).

So, when Paul tells the Thessalonian church to live in a manner worthy of God. He is not saying that they need to balance out the scales. Praise God for that! What seems to be the best way to understand this passage is that if a person confesses that they have God in their life, there is a manner of living that is fitting with that confession. There should be a different look to that person because of the awesome fact that God is with them. This is the same idea behind Philippians 1:27 where Paul tells the church to let their manner of life be worthy of the gospel. He isn’t teaching salvation by human merit. That would go completely contradictory to his understanding that salvation is by faith alone and not by works (Eph. 2:8-9). What Paul is saying is that if a person really understands the truth of the gospel (i.e., God has opened their eyes and illumined their hearts to see) so that they are saved, there is a lifestyle that comes with that saving truth and “salvific” understanding. It affects you so that you do not continue living for the world of the things of this world.

To the people at Lighthouse, the same question should be asked of each of us: Are you walking in a manner worthy of God? Is your life fitting with the faith you profess? Are your choices in line with the truth that God has saved you by His grace? This sort of thinking and living is concomitant with Christ’s living in us (Gal. 2:20). We cannot accomplish this without His enablement. Still, we must not neglect our responsibility to walk circumspectly in this world. Paul understood this necessity to the extent that he would write it in the most provocative way: “Christian, be worthy of God.” Together, let us strive to be a church that looks different, thinks differently, speaks differently, and lives differently.

Thanks To God

by Pastor John Kim

2 Thessalonians 1:3
3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.

If there is anything that I hope to see as a pastor, it would be exactly what Paul shares to the Thessalonian church in this verse. I want more than anything for every brother and sister at Lighthouse Bible Church to be growing abundantly in your faith in Christ as well as to be increasing in your love for one another. Thanks be to God that I see both taking place in the life of our church.

There are a few things that I would like to share with our church family. First, I am learning to be more thankful to God for you. Being the senior pastor often exposes me to more of the problematic side of church life and it doesn’t take too much to get discouraged or a bit darkened in my view towards people, especially as I have to confront or take part in dealing with conflicts or other unpleasant circumstances. These situations frequently narrow my perspective toward a very negative outlook and so it is no surprise that I find myself either discouraged or even depressed.

But God is good to show me that there are also positive things going on in the life of the church and it really does show itself in those who are growing spiritually and those who exhibit genuine love for one another. So instead of focusing on those who aren’t growing or those who aren’t loving, I have become more conscious of those who are and I am incredibly blessed to see what God is doing.

As Paul shares in this verse, I ought to give thanks to God because it is the right thing to do. Now this is not merely an issue of duty or obligation, though it obviously has some aspect of that. It is right to do because it is the most God-honoring thing to do that also brings the greatest blessings. For when I am thankful, I have a greater sense of seeing the hand of God at work rather than just focusing on the immediacy of the circumstances around me. That’s why I can even experience joy in the midst of trials (James 1:2) because the focus is not so much on the trials as it is on the purpose for which God is building my character. I have to admit that it is not necessarily so easy to do. But when I do give thanks out of heart that truly is thankful to God, I realize that there is so much that I can be thankful about because there is so much to be thankful about who God is and what He has designed for me.

The second lesson that I have been learning is to be specific in my thanksgiving. There are two things that Paul shares that he is thankful for and as I mentioned earlier, I am thankful for these two things as well – the growing faith and the increasing love of the members of our church.

I have been greatly encouraged as I consider throughout the church that there are those who are really growing in their faith. Starting with the children’s ministry, I am so thankful to see that the hearts and minds of our young ones are being given every opportunity to be exposed to the truth of God and be directed toward the Savior. I will hear Olivia singing songs that she has learned and she even knows at times how to appropriately engage in our sharing time as a family when we share what we have been learning at church. Alyssa continues to grow in her understanding and has been quite inquisitive about things that she is learning.

The youth ministry continues to be a bright point in the life of the church as the youth soak up what they are learning. My great hope is that they will be spiritually well prepared to face the challenges that come as they look forward to college. I believe the youth staff are doing a great job in helping nurture and cultivate the youth in their walks with God. It gives great hope looking forward to the future.

I have been very encouraged to see our collegians as this year they have been challenged to really expand their capacity for participation. The campus ministries at UCSD and SDSU are continuing to move forward and it has been encouraging to see the staff step up to provide leadership. The third hour on Sundays for a joint time of teaching and fellowship for the collegians reveals how committed some are as they are literally at church for most of the day. It has been great getting to know some of the collegians and hear how they are growing.

The Singles ministry has been enjoying a study on the person and work of the Holy Spirit on Friday nights. It has been encouraging to see the response of many who have not had much background regarding the Holy Spirit. It has actually been a great study for me as well as I had never done any kind of focused study on the Holy Spirit other than in dealing with charismatic issues.

Grace Life has just started their men’s and women’s meetings during the mid-week and it has been good to hear how many of them are actually taking sermon notes for the first time and interacting with what they are learning on Sundays as they discuss the sermon. I know that it is not easy to do this when you are busy with life and work and children and other things that seem to drain you of life energy. But it is definitely a big deal that when the father and mothers of the church are growing spiritually, the benefits will be wide spread.

This past weekend, Pastor Carl Hargrove preached several powerful messages in light of our theme for this year, “For the love of Christ.” One thing that he mentioned was something I thought was very significant, though it was just a side comment he made. It is when we become too familiar with holy things. I think this really is a big factor when it comes to how our faith is growing. If we take the things of God and do not treat them as holy but become so familiar with them to the point of breeding contempt, it should not be a surprise to see that affect our spiritual growth. I think especially of those who come to church and have a very lax attitude or a critical attitude, revealing a self-centeredness that would even demand that God Himself would orient His thoughts and plans around them. It is unfortunate but true that this happens all too often and it can happen to any of us if we lose sight of how precious and holy God is. Carl mentioned the example of how people treat sermons, how even in preaching class he would admonish the men to pay attention when the others are preaching, even if it was for an academic exercise. How often do we treat the time of preaching or teaching lightly by taking care of other business, of being too easily distracted and given over to other things when we should be focused on hearing the word of God?

It is a great challenge but one that I am sure many are up to facing because it was encouraging to hear how many of you shared what you were learning with one another, not only during the retreat but even afterward. It is encouraging even to see how people would note on their Facebook status that they had been blessed in attending the retreat. I hope that we can make it a point to really share how we are growing as often and in as many ways possible through the various relationships as well as even the various media that we have at our disposal.

Coupled with growing in our faith is the increasing of love for one another. Note what Paul writes in his greeting to the Thessalonians – “and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.” He points out that “every one of you” is involved in the loving of one another. It is not only for some, or for those who find it easy to love. It should be the fact that every one of you at Lighthouse Bible church should be loving one another and increasing in that love day by day, week by week, month by month, and year by year. As God has already granted us ten years as a church, I would hope that in that time the love would have increased tenfold because we have been given the opportunity to be a part of each other’s lives and though it isn’t always easy or convenient, we should see everyone and each year as an opportunity to grow in our love for one another in Christ.

This has been such an encouragement to see in many of you as I see your service of love toward one another. Whether it be through serving in the church in some capacity, writing a note of encouragement, sharing your food with someone who looks hungry on Sundays (i.e. the pastoral staff =), or even coming in after work to help fix things or catalog books, there have been so many manifestations of love and they all are quite meaningful.

I give thanks to God for so many of you who have been growing in your faith and have been increasing in your love for one another. As we approach the holiday season when things get fast and furious and people get impatient and uncooperative, let us continue to walk in faith, exercising love, looking forward with hope in knowing that Christ will complete the work that has been started in us.

Count It All Joy

by Pastor Patrick Cho

On a couple of the trips when we were in Argentina we had the joy of serving alongside our friend Israel Contreras. Israel worked with Eduardo Buldain’s church planting ministry and helped us as our head interpreter. One thing that stood out about Israel was his attitude during times of hardship. Whenever things didn’t go according to plan or whenever our team was hit with trials, Israel would say, “This is not a problem. It is an opportunity to grow.” I always appreciated this outlook towards trouble because it is consistent with a biblical worldview. He trusted in God’s sovereignty and could take joy even in the midst of trials.

James 1:2-4 is a familiar passage for most believers. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” For many in the church, 2009 has already gotten off to a difficult start. Our members are facing trials of various kinds. The literal idea behind the word “various” in this passage is that the trials have a variety of colors. This is one of those comforting truths in the Bible. It doesn’t matter what shade of trial you might be facing, whether you are undergoing an intense time of suffering or some lighter but still troubling times, God still cares. God understands that there are varying degrees of hardship and He gives grace to endure every level.

James tells us in light of these sufferings to “count it all joy.” This is a command from Scripture, and so we must be obedient to it. But like with all commands in Scripture, this one is able to be disobeyed. When suffering enters our lives, the call from God is to consider it all joy. This is not joy mixed with complaint or grief. It is complete. All we are to feel is joy because God is behind the circumstances in our lives. So often we fail in this because of the sinfulness of our hearts. We doubt what God can do through trials. We focus more on the circumstances than on God who is sovereign behind them. Sometimes we are even tempted to blame God and complain to Him when we encounter trials.

The reason why trials are helpful from James’s perspective is that the trials lead to greater growth in faith. The testing of our faith produces steadfastness or endurance. This word has the idea of undergoing hardship and being able to stand up under it. God tests our faith so that we can be better at standing in our faith. This is particularly relevant to me as a new parent. Sometimes baby Eden is sitting up on the bed and we see her losing her balance. Inevitably, we know she is going to fall because she doesn’t possess the strength yet to hold up her heavy head! However, we also know that as she grows she will develop the strength she needs. She’ll slowly learn from all the falling over that she needs to keep herself propped up. Our trials teach us in the same way. At first, we may not be good at trusting the Lord through our difficult circumstances. God’s solution is not to remove trials from our lives but to introduce new ones so that we will better learn to stand.

Ultimately, these trials are what lead to our completion or perfection in the faith. Of course this doesn’t mean that we will no longer sin or fail. Until we die or Christ comes again sin will always be a struggle for us and we will constantly be in the fight for faith. But James says through our patient endurance through trials we will be led to greater completion. Small trials will be less and less of a hindrance for us because we will have learned from experience that God is good and sovereign behind them. Eventually we will learn to endure greater and greater trials because of the grace of God. This testing is meant for our good and God uses our troubles to bring us to great maturity in the faith.

We should thus take hope that God is working in our lives. When we encounter various trials, we can be sure that God is active behind the scenes. In some ways, we should be more concerned if everything is going well. Take some time to consider how God is growing your faith. How is He introducing the kinds of trials into your life that will cause you to lean on Him in a greater way? And how are you responding to those trials? Are you seeking to honor Him through your response or are you simply complaining because times are not easy and comfortable? Thankfully, James gives us a better perspective to see that God is faithful even in the times that might cause us to doubt Him the most.

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.


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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