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Ribbons In The Sky

rainbow-over-cow-palace

Genesis 9:13: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.

Somber gray clouds passed over the parched lands of the bay area to deliver some much needed rain this weekend. However, the deluge was but a prelude for a weekend of family drama and soul-searching. Rain is an equitable disruptor, bringing upheaval and turmoil to both the rich and the poor, weddings and funerals, Gentiles and Jews. When the strong winds and lightning sweep across the sky, we scurry for cover, finding whatever shelter we can under outstretched umbrellas and timorous trees. But where shall we take refuge from the storms of the heart?

We show gratitude to the Lord, as we should, when we experience a new blessing or a favorable turn of events. Even animals do that much. But who among us will show that same thankfulness when tumultuous gales threaten to rip apart our fortunes and our relationships? The Lord is both the Lord of Blessings and the Lord of Troubles. As Job learned, He shows His glory in all things. Howling gusts shall be followed by the caress of a gentle breeze. Troubled skies will open up to reveal breathtaking rainbows.

Being fallen creatures that we are, we cannot fully experience Good until we know Evil; and we can only know Happiness through the experience of Suffering. Through good fortune and catastrophe, the Joy that we carry in our heart from knowing the Lord cannot be taken away from us. Secured by the precious blood of Christ, that Joy is our inheritance. No storm can uproot us if we hold fast to the Tree of Life and the promise of His covenant. His promise shall endure and the darkness shall not overcome it! Timothy Yu

Scaling Spiritual Mountains In Haiti

On July 4th, I landed in San Francisco airport. Exhausted from the flight, I stepped into the restroom to throw some water on my face. Standing in front of the mirror, I looked very much like the person who had departed less than five days earlier. Maybe a little darker, a few pounds lighter. But somehow, I felt different. I was different. The person standing before me was now a missionary.

Haiti has been called the Land of Mountains. And for Westerners who have stepped foot on that island nation, the mountains surely symbolize the enormous challenge of transforming the disaster-plagued and poverty-stricken country into a modern civilization. Before I went to Haiti, I didn’t understand what a missionary was. Sure I knew the dictionary definition, but how did it feel to be doing missionary work? What did it look like? How was it any different from conventional charitable work? We can fly to Haiti, deliver food and medicine, provide medical service, teach English, conduct worship service. All these are nice, charitable works. But two things must be accomplished on a mission for it to be successful in the Christian sense. One, everything we do must point to Christ. We can tend to the body and mind, but the spirit must not be neglected. Two, we must do it out of Love, in the Greek sense of agape, or God’s love.

Spiritual resurrection surely comes before material resurrection, whether we speak of a person or a nation. If we go to Haiti to merely “help” people, or to briefly assuage our First World guilt, no matter how skilled we are, or how valuable and manifold the resources that we provide, we are not doing God’s work. We are not missionaries. However, if we go to Haiti as a cup carrying the Living Water, then Haiti will be truly refreshed. If we go serve in the way that Jesus would, seeking no glory for ourselves, under challenging conditions, then God will truly be glorified. Only then will the spiritual mountains in Haiti be overcome, leveled by God’s amazing love.

We’ve all sung the song “Hosanna” from Hillsong United. We’ve all cried out the lyrics “Break my heart for what breaks yours!” Take time to read 1 Corinthians 13, and decide what kind of Christian you want to be. Are your spoken words just ringing brass, or the creaking of a rusty gate? Or are you what you sing to God? Every Christian with the opportunity and the means should be a missionary. Not for the benefit of whom you serve, but for your own. If God wishes to bless the people in Haiti, or any place where the power of darkness and sin has a firm hold, He will bless them either with or without your help. Don’t worry about what skills or resources you can bring to the mission team. Bring an open heart and allow God to fill it. Timothy Yu

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The Household Of God

Our stay in San Francisco has come to a close. A month has passed with the ephemeral fleetness of a beautiful dream. My wife and I will never forget the people and places (and the food!) we have experienced here in the bay area. Serving this church over the past month has been a real joy. I became comfortable far sooner than I had expected because so many of the members were incredibly hospitable and willing to bond with me and my wife.

The first person my wife Janice and I met from Full Gospel English Ministry was Deacon Gun Shim. Deacon Shim is nothing like how I had imagined him to be! From his outward appearance, I had imagined him to be a steely-eyed, all-business, no-nonsense kind of man. In person, however, he is a passionate, light-hearted, jaunty, and generous person. I was refreshed by our exchanges. It was no surprise then, that many of the other leaders in EM like Deacon Daniel, PJ, and Sunny were cut from the same mold. Men of such character contribute to the refreshing ethos in the EM.

Communal prayer is central to the rhythm of this church. We prayed two hours in the morning, one hour in the afternoon, five days per week as full-time staff. So whatever qualms (internal or external) may arise, daily prayer squelches it. I’ve experienced this first-hand. This month was one of the clearest I’ve had in a while simply due to the hours invested in prayer to the Lord.

It’s easy to look around at any church and notice all the things that are missing. However, Full Gospel has ample workspace for an urban church, which is atypical. The pastoral staff here is welcoming, without egos and politicking (as far as I’ve observed during our month’s stay). I really appreciated that type of working environment. The leadership here is full of diverse, anointed people who are eager to grow, to learn, and to be inspired to live for Jesus Christ. I had an amazing time with everyone and owe a great deal to them for the friendship they showed me and Janice. We are so grateful to this church!

I believe that God desires to turn this church community into a powerful force for bringing His light and love to the city of San Francisco. Every community that wants to thrive in Christ must have trained, anointed leadership and a compelling theological vision for God’s mission. My prayer for the Full Gospel San Francisco English Ministry is that God would raise up a leader who can bring that God-given vision for what God wants to do in and through this ministry.

Thank you, Full Gospel Church, and may God continue to pour out His blessings on you! James Kim

I Left My Heart In San Francisco (And I just got here!)

My name is James Kim and I am a Korean American pastor based in New York. I was blessed to be invited by Full Gospel to be a visiting guest pastor for the month of July. When my wife Janice and I landed in the bay area, our immediate impression was “Wow!” All of our senses had to be re-calibrated from the overwhelming urban sensory noise of NYC to the relatively quiet murmuring winds and the soft hum of cars in the distance. Truly, our eyes viewed life in 1080P High-Definition here; our skin felt a brisker, crisper air.  Actually, we smelled fresh air for the first time in months since our honeymoon in Hawaii. The scenic drives from Highway 1 and Highway 280 were stunning. And of course, the local food is world class.

For me, a nagging question emerged: were we, as Renee Descartes famously posited, being deceived by our senses? No, this place was real and it exuded an original, clean, and broad-spectrum stimulation. It reminded me of a certain place in the Land of Narnia that C.S Lewis described as a place where “you could almost feel the trees growing.” We look forward to exploring and experiencing this amazing area during our stay. James Kim

Looking Forward To Korea

PJ-and-family-480My family and I have been at Full Gospel Church, San Francisco for the last two years. I have been serving as youth pastor while still working weekdays at Cornerstone Academy. We have been blessed to have community with the English Ministry and look forward to continue growing and adjusting to our new church environment. Missions are greatly emphasized, and we are privileged and blessed to be going to South Korea to provide Vacation Bible School for the rural children in the farmlands. We will receive training with Ezemiah Ministry on Jeju Island the first week and then embark to the rural parts of Seoul for the last two weeks. This will be our family’s first time traveling outside the United States and we couldn’t be more excited! As we teach the children English, we prayerfully hope to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them and their families and see what God will do!

There is a financial cost in going on the mission trip. All funds that are raised go to transporting and housing those who are going. Should you be inclined to contribute financially, please make checks payable to “Full Gospel SF” and in the memo write “Korea Mission 2014.” Please do not feel obligated! More urgently needed are your prayers! My specific prayer request is as follows:

1. Unity: the team will work together well through His Spirit

2. Gospel: Even though there may be a language barrier, pray that the Gospel will be communicated through His Word and acts of love

3. Health: it will be very hot and humid. Pray for sound bodies, mind, and spirit

Thank you for partnering with us in sharing the Gospel! God bless! Jeff Gee

Time Flies By

sally-jeff-baby-800-600Much has happened in the last three years. My family and I were blessed to be able to move into our new home in Daly City. By His grace, I have received a Biblical Studies Certificate from seminary. My wife Sally will be transferring to A.P. Giannini to work with special needs students. My boys Tyler and Zach have graduated and are now moving onto high school and middle school. Kaitlyn will be a high school junior and approaching sweet sixteen! Where has all the time gone?

Having said that, time is precious, and I realized how much time was taken from working a full time job and part time pastoring the youth at church. Honestly, it can be tiring but also a blessing as well when I know it is God who is calling us to serve Him. But please pray for us to find rest in all the busyness of life and to say “no” to the unimportant things and say, “yes” to what is really needed. Our prayer request is for each of us to have a loving relationship with Jesus and be filled with the joy of the Lord. Thank you for being a part of our lives! Please let us know how we may pray for you too! Peace! Jeff Gee

Meaning Of Marriage By Tim Keller

We learn a lot in our Married Couples small group. In a recent session, the couples went through a book study together and read Tim Keller’s book the “Meaning of Marriage”. It was absolutely a fun book to read through and also hilarious to hear the different stories behind each one of our marriages.

We all took away something special from the book to help improve our marriages and our relationship with Christ. We learned about Christ’s sacrificial love and what that means to us in our own marriages. That our bodies are not our own, but our bodies are to be submitted to each other.

We learned that marriage is not perfect, but something to be worked on and to be perfected through our love of Christ and love for one another. We also, learned that marriage is not for everyone. In fact, apostle Paul states that it’s better to be single, so that your affairs are the same affairs of the Lord.

Overall, it was a great time learning about God’s vision and plans for our marriages, learning more about our spouses, and sharing some great stories with one another. Eric Gee

Like A Spiritual Vitamin!

God has brought many people to Recharge bible study: friends, classmates, brothers and sisters from other churches looking for a Bible-centered small group, and loved ones who are just curious to know why we love Jesus so much. People have come and gone, but each meeting and each moment is significant because the Lord touches us in different ways and is big enough to meet each person individually. Yes, God is good.

I love Recharge because I am so blessed and privileged to have a mid-week chance to get recharged in my faith and spirit. There are never enough hours in a day to do everything we want to do, especially to pray and spend time with God, but He is so faithful and gracious to take our heavy burdens and give us His light yoke in the time that we seek Him.

When I see others being blessed from sharing, hearing, praying, I am also blessed and my heart is warm. I believe that every believer is a leader for Christ and Recharge is the perfect place for us to exercise our spiritual muscles for leadership.

Last but definitely not least, the time spent in prayer is always powerful and sweet, and I never leave feeling the same as when I’ve entered. Praise the Lord for all He has done! Sylvia Choy

Building On Brokenness

I began teaching our youth at FGSF just over a year ago, and trust me, I have been learning more than teaching. In His mysterious ways, God uses broken things to heal and restore, as He always has with those we can relate to in the Bible. And He chose to break me for His purpose. I was born into a Christian family, a pastor’s kid (PK). It’s strange, but there seems to be a common understanding that when a pastor’s kid goes wayward, there is no explanation needed as to why. But I completely understand the struggles growing up as a PK and the complexity of it all. Despite much suffering and pain, including my father’s death, I always kept God as the love of my life. This held true even when I tried to escape the strict environment of Christian “rules & regulations” and to live my life the way I determined it to be. I would keep God next to me so that He can continue to grant me what I needed. I kept a very private life, building a wall against anyone who was outside of my circle of trust. I quickly rode a wave of success in my career and eventually allowed pride to rule my heart because although I was saved, I was never transformed, never renewed.

As I began teaching the youth, God also began his work in me by breaking my pride, self-will, ambitions, lofty ideals, worldly reputation and desires. Then He began to challenge me to discipline myself for the purpose of godliness in my lifestyle and to deepen my character. He tested and challenged my faith to not flirt with righteousness, but to be a living sacrifice. I am nowhere near perfect at this point, but I am not driven by religion, but my love for Him. God taught me to pray for the church, the leaders, the parents and especially the youth, and I began to cry heart-wrenchingly for the souls of my kids. I genuinely understood the struggles the youth had shared with me: pressures of school, lack of self-confidence or positive self-image, loss of a parent(s), not having a close friend to attend church with, peer pressure and so much more.

To close, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that FGSF Youth is a group of broken individuals who are receivers of God’s loving grace and we rely on Him to lead and mold all of us. Sarah Kim

A Living Legend

The phrase “a living legend” may seem too flattering to describe most people, but I cannot think of a more fitting phrase to describe Rev. Kwan Chin Oh, lead Pastor of Full Gospel Church. Oh was born in South Korea and while he was in Junior high, he experienced the Holy Spirit’s powerful touch at a revival meeting. There at the revival, he gave his life to serve God either as a pastor or a missionary.

In 1972, after completing his military duties in Korea, Rev. Oh joined the Full Gospel Church in Yeyido as an assistant pastor. Two years later he was sent to San Francisco to minister to the growing number of Koreans immigrating to the US. For the past four decades Rev. Oh has faithfully and prayerfully served as the Senior Pastor of Full Gospel San Francisco Church.

His ministry had a humble beginning in a small room on the third floor of the Glad Tidings Church. With his commitment to prayer and preaching that is biblical, passionate, and gospel centered, God began to bless the church. In 1980, Rev. Oh along with the church elerders, began the first phase to build a beautiful church right next to the Glad Tidings church. After completing the building of our current church location, Rev. Oh and the elders served the Korean Americans in the Bay area who were tired and weary from the challenges and the hardships of the immigrant life.

After forty years of humble, faithful, and prayer filled service, Rev. Oh is as energetic as ever. While thankful to God for the past blessings, he is focusing on the future. He is committed to blessing the future generations living in San Francisco. His vision is to see the Holy Spirit move in San Francisco as in the days of the Pentecost. He desires to see the Full Gospel church transition from being an immigrant church to impact the diverse communities in our city.

Today, I have the privilege to observe and witness this “living legend” faithfully and passionately pray for the revival of our city as he had faithfully done for the past forty years. Everyday he prays five to six hours for revival to come to the people of San Francisco. As I learn to pray with him, I imagine that this is the kind of blessing Joshua had when he was allowed to stay with Moses during his time with God. Thank you Rev. Oh for living a legendary life of prayer and blessing our church! Rinnah Song