Amazingly, this year is rapidly coming to an end. It seems as if it was just a few months ago that we began 2004 with lots of hopes and expectations, and now we are about to face 2005 with a different set of goals and dreams. Now is a good time for us to reflect on and praise God for what He has done in and through us this past year, and entrust ourselves to Him once again for the coming year for Him to use and work through us for His awesome Kingdom work.
Our baptism service is always a special time because it speaks clearly to the world that our God is real and He is still working powerfully in the lives of people. This year we were able to baptize 33 people and we will have another baptism service next Sunday.
Rick Warren, the author of “The Purpose Driven Life” once said that the health of a church is not measured by seating capacity but sending capacity. New Life sent out more than 50 short-term missionaries to Camp Barnabas, Mexico, Kosova, Afghanistan, Kunming, China, Harbin, China and Macedonia, and we also had a great privilege of commissioning Sean Kim to Djibouti in Africa and Rebecca Kim to Tibet in China for a year. Currently, there are five members of New Life who are serving as overseas missionaries for a year or longer term. We also became a partner church in a project to plant a self-propagating church amongst Tibetans.
This year’s Coffee House broke the previous records in several ways. Instead of having it just on Saturday, we had it both on Friday and Saturday. As a result, we were able to host more than 500 people!
We also offered three rounds of our basic classes (101, 201, 301, 401) and began “Experiencing God” class with the house church shepherds. This class will be used as another one-to-one discipleship Bible study in our church and those shepherds who have gone through it with me will be mentoring other shepherds or their house church members, and then it will work in the same way as Beginning the Journey and The Arrival Kit.
Our Maturity Team has done a marvelous job of organizing the first men’s retreat during which our brothers had an opportunity to bond with one another as they opened up their lives and prayed for each other. Our ladies also had an incredible time during their Women’s Night In and the first women’s conference with Anita Carman. It truly was good for me to see our ladies getting excited about connecting with each other and encouraging one another to be more passionate about knowing and serving God!
And of course, how could I forget about all the weddings that took place in New Life this year? During one of the House of Prayer meetings in the beginning of the year, I had asked New Life to pray for five couples to get married in 2004. Our God is very faithful and gracious in hearing our prayers!
And lastly, we wholeheartedly praise and thank God for what He has done in our children’s ministry through Pastor Jaemo and his wife Julie. They have worked very hard to lay the foundation for our children’s ministry, “Joshua Cross Stars,” by recruiting and training the volunteers, getting all the parents involved in the ministry and getting our children excited about worshiping God and loving His church so that New Life could tangibly be used by Him in raising up a generation of spiritual champions. There are many other events and ministries that we did this year that I had to leave out for an obvious reason, but it is apparent that God has truly worked in our midst in 2004.
Due to my dad getting a major surgery for aneurysm just a couple of weeks ago and me hurting my lower back and going through a pain for almost three weeks, I wasn’t able to have a regular quantity time with God in prayer recently, and I have been spiritually a little down lately. But I don’t want to finish this year in pain or in discouragement. Instead, I want to trust and hold on to God and end it victoriously.
As we get ready to face the New Year, there are a few things that I would like for New Life to know and remember. First, I want to challenge all the members of New Life who are not involved in any type of ministry to find a place of ministry and serve. Church is the body of Christ and you and I are the parts of that body, and if the parts don’t fulfill their role actively, the body will get weak and then sick. And one of the first and best ways to serve is by coming to our Sunday morning intercessory prayer.
Second, I would like to see more married couples with or without kids to participate in our monthly House of Prayer. Prayer is and must be the backbone of our ministry that supports all the other ministries. Husbands and wives can take turns to come to this prayer meeting. Let’s burn red hot for God through prayer this coming year!
Third, our building pledge will most likely begin in February or March next year. New Life has been doing ministry pretty comfortably the past seven and a half years due to our Korean-speaking congregation’s generosity. Now, it is time for us to be more responsible and take more ownership of our ministry. I will be asking you to give to the building fund the amount that you have never given before which will be extremely challenging and stretching. But if we do this with a sweet spirit, I know that our faith in God and love for Jesus will be deepened! Let’s not waste this great opportunity to show how much we love and trust God. So, watch your spending habit, work your budget, save and plan to give to God in a huge way! And I know you will come through on this as you have always done. Thanks, everyone! And I love you all!
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