November 29, 2011

"South Korea, Are You Serious???"

So, I'm at the airport again waiting to jump on the next flight to South Korea. I gotta hurry & type so I can conserve my computer battery since I left my charger at home, blast!!! Anyhoo, South Korea... "Didn't you just get home from Indonesia?" You ask? Yep, and honestly, I totally did not expect to be boarding a flight to South Korea one week later. I'm still in shock, but, as I shared before, 'God is not surprised.'

At the begining of October Pastor Sunhee asked if Andrea & I would like to go with her & Pastor Benjamin to South Korea. During the week she would be visiting family, PB would be connecting with the senior Pastors from New Philidelphia Church (Pastors Christian & Erin Lee) our sister church, & then on Saturday & Sunday I would help her train over 70 young adults for missions. I was super excited for the invite! My wife said she wouldn't be able to miss the extra week of school, but she said I could go! "This must be Jesus," I thought... But, with raising support for the Inodnesia trip I didn't feel right asking for another $700 - $1,000 (even though we were going to be ministering it wasn't considered an official 'missions trip'), so I just kept it in prayer.

Leading up to the Indonesia trip I just kept the whole thing in prayer telling the Lord, "I give it to you. You know I heeeeeeeecka want to go, but you also know I don't have the finances at all and I don't feel like I'm suppose to ask people for it... or am I?" So, I decided to just keep it in prayer all throughout the Indonesia trip and on the way home. How awesome would it be to be a part of training over 70 young adults to reach the world for Jesus! This is what I've been trained for. This is why God has deposited the things in me that He has... Not only that, but I'll get to me other young adults who are on fire for God & letting Jesus take them wherever He wants! "God, I give it to you..."

So, all through last week I just surrendered it to Jesus. I didn't really mention it to anyone & honestly, I just said in my heart,"God, I soooo want to go, but maybe next time..." I pretty much chalked it up as a no-go, but at the same time thinking, "should I just ask people." Ahhhhhh! I was conflicted, but I decided to keep it in prayer.

Sunday, service was powerful and I was completely tired (only slept 2 hours the night before, blasted jet lag!). I was talking with a friend and he said he really wished I was going to Korea. I said, "Me too, I hecka wanted to go! I was tempted to ask people for support, but it's not an official missions trip you know? But, it would be awesome to do help PS teach School of World Missions training with the young adults and to be able to meet the New Philly (Philidelphia) Church family..."

We went back and forth a bit about how cool it would be and then he said to me, "I have $600 for you right now if you want to go..." "What??!!??! Are you serious? Yea, right bro... naw, it's too late. Flights would be way over $1,000... I mean, that would be tight, but...... shoot, let me check the flights.... that would be crazy!" I checked the flights and there was one available for $700.50! Unheard of, the day before the flight! My other friends got their tickets a month before for around $660!!! "Hold up, I gotta check with PB first..." Then he asked, "Is it coo with your wife?" (gotta make sure you go throught he proper procedures 'ya feel?' if God don't confirm it with my baby, then it must not be Jesus!)

Within the next 10 minutes I got the 'go ahead' from my wife, PB and another friend helped with the remainder of the money! "South Korea, are you serious???!!!"

I cannot express how favored I feel by Jesus right now. I truly believe that God is making more and more real to me that "The steps of the righteous are ordered by the Lord." It was something I gave up to him, prayed about, but just committed to Him. I was believing for God to move, but when Sunday rolled around I really didn't expect it to happen.... Sometimes God blesses simply because we are his children. For no other reason than the fact that I am His son, "an heir of God and co-heir of Christ." David said "His goodness and mercy follows me all the days of my life." How many are walking around knowing that goodness and mercy are walking right in your footsteps. On Thanksgiving my dad reminded me that goodness and mercy chase me down the streets and overtake me... Boy was he right...

As I was holding my wife last night I couldn't help but say with great expection, "If God opened the door for me to go to South Korea this way, there must be something there He has for me... I'm so excited to see what it is... God is never surprised even though we may be... What is unknown to me is known to Him..."

I believe God is going to do something powerful! I'll be traveling with Pastor Benjamin, Pastor Sunhee & Pastor Robert Daniel's (PB & PS's spiritual father - what a powerful team!), Mickey Cho & Daniel Kim. What an honor, what a privelege. I feel so favored. I feel like a little boy whose Father is taking him by the hand and saying, "I got a surprise for you, watch what I'm going to show you..."

November 26, 2011

"God Is Not Surprised..."

It's funny that many times you don't really realize how tired you are until you actually stop. You know, like when it's super late at night, you go into your room, you plop onto the bed and it's lights out. Next thing you know it's morning time... Well, here was my plane ride: I slept, woke up, ate, slept, woke up, prayed and  worshipped, slept, woke up and read (Bible, The Victory Over Darkness & Breaking Intimidation). We had a lay over at the airport in Singapore and I slept some more and read some more. Yea, I didn't realize how much I had been going non-stop back home and it wasn't about to lighten up once we got there...

The words that Pastor Benjamin spoke to our team before we prayed continued to echo in my heart, "God is not surprised..." It reminded me of when Paul was traveling through Asia Minor. There were a number of times when the Holy Spirit hindered him from going to certain places he desired to go and opened doors for him to go in other places he didn't plan to go, but in all cases, God was not surprised. My expectation began to grow... What did God have in store? What was He cooking up there? What doors was He closing and what doors was he opening? How was He going to work out Pastor Sunhee's plane ticket situation?

As I slept, read and prayed... oh yea, and ate (oh how I love food! especially airplane cheese and crackers)... The Lord was confronting areas of my heart, things I didn't realize that were so deeply rooted. I couldn't go into the slums to rescue a young girl who was working in a gambling house if I couldn't see beyond the natural. I couldn't see people delivered from the demonic if I were intimidated by the enemy. I couldn't pray for the sick if I was going to be moved by what I saw... I was confronted with the question, "Are you going to let your mind be renewed, pray through and lay hold of what I have, or are you going to back down and forfeit the authority I have called you to walk in?" God was not surprised by anything that we were going to confront and He wasn't going to let me be either.

So many times God begins to deal with our hearts, surfacing our fears, surfacing places that we are intimidated and surfacing places of doubt. However, rather than run straight into His arms through prayer and the word we run the opposite way. God is never surrpised, not just because He knows all things, but because He is perfected in love! God is love (1 John 4:8). Us not being surprised does not mean that we will not be in surprising situations, but it means that we are rooted in love and faith in God's power to move in each situation.

This would be the foundation of the first steps I would take once we exited the plane to Nias and entered into the slums to rescue Masi... We're so afraid of the unknown, the mysterious, not having control, not knowing the next step, not having the details, but God is not surprised... I looked at my wife and said, "God has absolute power and He loves absolutely." So many people say that 'absolute power corrupts,' but that is because the majority of those who seek it don't have absolute love! God is absolutely in control and He is motivated by absolute love. God has absolute power and He loves absolutely. God is not surprised...

November 25, 2011

"Run It..." Taking my place as a son...

Excited and at the same time feeling a bit rusty from overseas travel, I walked into SFO with my wife by my side... I approached Pastor Sunhee, she was discussing with the person at the bag check-in spot, and she turned around saying, "They won't let me get on the flight because my passport needs to be renewed 6 months before it expires and it expires in 2 months..."

"That's hecka dumb!" I thought... So what's that mean for the trip? Hold on, God didn't provide for us to go and not deliver? What about rescuing Masi from the slums? What about reaching the people in Mentaiwi? Does that mean I need to go to Mentaiwi with the team? Then what about the orphans & people of Nias? Hold up, God, how you gonna work this out?

It's crazy... this is what I had been trained for, to step up in faith, expectation and ascend to the place that God has called me to occupy as a son in every situation. But, I'm not gonna lie. For a moment my stomach dropped, the feelings of spiritually rustiness began to mock me, doubt tried creeping in, even pride whispering, 'yea, you get to lead,' tried to lay hold of my heart. And then the truth of God began to rise inside of me. "I'm a son, chosen for this moment, trained by my father and mother, entrusted with the purpose of God, invested with the vision to expand the kingdom of the heavenly Father, and going in the name of those who send me for the the glory of the Jesus we represent, never for my glory! I'm going to represent God, to represent my leaders, to represent the church and to represent all those who have joined us through prayer & giving."

Pastor Sunhee pulled me aside, gave me a couple of quick instructions and said, "You need to lead the team. I'm going to get on a flight tomorrow and meet you all there." I love the faith of my spiritual mother! She would not take "No" for an answer. While she was giving me instructions Pastor Benjamin was on the phone with the passport agency and they said she would not be able to get an appointment until the next day and that there were too busy for her to go in. So, according to the agency, it wouldn't leave her enough time to catch the next flight... How many of you know God is not restricted by agencies & officials, He works all thigns out for His good! (after we boarded, she went to the agency and within 3 hours she had a new passport and caught the flight the next day to Indonesia! unheared of!!!)

So just before we left we all prayed together and PB began by saying, "God is not surprised... Nothing that has happened today has shocked Him, He is not surprised..." This would characterize our trip, things working out in different ways then we imagined and planned (more to come later). So many times we want God to move in impossible ways, but we don't want to be at the edge of the impossible! We hate the feeling of not knowing what's going to happen, but the impossible is fertile soil for the fruit of God's supernatural work!

After we prayed PB looked at me and said, "Run it..." As a basketball coach says to his star point guard, 'Run it..." As a baseball coach says to his star pitcher, "Run it..." As a father says to his son, 'Run it..." My spirit was jolted, my heart set ablaze once again with the truth of the fact that this is what I have been called for, chosen for, trained for, equipped for and destined for... this was the place that God has called me to occupy, but not just when Pastor Sunhee is not able to board the plane, I'm called to occupy this place always.

On the plane ride the question, "Why have you spiritually taken the bench?" began to flood my mind. It was as if the Holy Spirit, through PB's words, was defibrillating my heart. I'm called to serve alongside my leaders and help them fulfill the work of God all the time, not just when they can't on the plane! Why do I allow myself to back down and take a seat on the bench because I don't feel like I'm the point guard?

The Lord began to show me that this was not just me, but this is how many in the body of Christ are at this time. We leave it up to the 'spiritual point guards' to run it. But, God has called us to run it together, as we walk in step with their direction and leadership! So many of us our sitting on the bench thinking, "They got it covered, they're doing a good job, they don't need me, mom and dad got it covered." As a result, as a body we are hindered and deactivated from "Running it" together! It's time to get off the bench and take our place alongside the leaders that God has called us to serve. It's time that in faith, submission and readiness we step into the place that we are called to occupy so that as a body we can "Run it!"

Just as we boarded the plane my wife looked at me and said, "Baby that's so powerful that Pastor Sunhee could just say that you need to lead the team and that she can trust you and you are capable and ready to lead..." This is why my spiritual father and mother have been pouring into my life. This is why it is so important for me to have their heart. It's not for me to sit on the bench and just watch them do all the work. It is to walk with the heart that God has given them, to serve them and serve alongside them. It is to be able to take my place as a son and "Run It."