• John Kim

Ephesians 4:15 “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”

At the end of 2019, Elaine and I watched Crash Landing On You, a Korean drama about a South Korean chaebol heiress who accidentally lands in North Korea on a paragliding trip. A captain in the North Korean army discovers her, and at great peril to himself and his family, helps her get to safety and eventually back home to South Korea.

I enjoyed watching the show because I’ve been involved in North Korea work for some time, and because I had a chance to meet Son Ye-jin, the lead actress, on a trip to Singapore. (Thanks @SabrinaTan and @SkinInc!) She hasn’t admitted it to me yet, but I think my wife largely enjoyed the show because the lead actor was played by the dashing Hyun Bin 

At a lunch after church one day, Elaine told all her girlfriends about the show and insisted that they MUST watch together with their husbands. It sounded innocent enough, but after a few weeks I got a message from all of their husbands that said the same thing. It went something like…

“Dude, why did Elaine have to ruin my life? The standard of love depicted in this series is so ridiculous! Now my wife expects me to sacrifice everything for her. It’s totally unrealistic!”

I guess that’s the beautiful thing about Korean dramas. They give us an impossible standard to live up to. One can find great insecurity in that, but one can also find hope and inspiration for what lies ahead.

If there’s one account of love that surpasses even the standard of Hyun Bin, it would be the account of a God who loved you so much that he literally sacrificed everything for you. That standard of love seems so impossible, and yet scripture tells us that we will grow to become in every respect like Jesus. Hyun Bin better look out, because he’s got some steep competition ahead.

Lord, I thank you for making the impossible totally possible. Thank you for the ultimate expression of what it means to love. I’m overwhelmed with your sacrifice today. In your son’s name, Amen.

  • John Kim

2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you.” The other day I was chatting with a friend about our life plans. We’re both in our mid-forties, and we both feel like it’s kind of late to gain mastery in some of our pursuits. For my friend, he hadn’t felt the freedom to undergo any career planning until recently, when God gave him some revelation that he might not necessarily go back to his family business. “It feels so free, but at the same time, I feel like it’s so late. I wonder if I’m behind.” I reminded my friend that my dad didn’t start his career proper until he was about 50 years old. He had always seen himself pursuing a career as an academic, but for some reason, positions didn’t open up for him out of grad school. So he joined the US government as a researcher, getting his academic fix by teaching his own kids and college group bible studies at church. What probably felt like 30 years wandering in the desert served to prepare my dad for what lay ahead. When he received a call offering him a professorship at Seoul National University, he quickly accepted despite the acute pay cut, because he knew himself and what God had designed him to do. Upon landing at SNU, Dad began to ask his students for feedback after each lecture. “What is one thing you liked, and one thing you didn’t like about today’s class?” In the conservative, Confucian Korea of the 1990’s, this was totally unheard of. “I’m the teacher, you are the student. Clearly, I know what I am doing and you don’t, so who are you to tell me how to teach?” was the line of thinking for most profs around town. But through this tactic, which he picked up outside of academia, dad quickly improved his delivery and got cited very quickly as the top lecturer, at the top university in the country. That led to invitations for speaking events, newspaper articles, numerous books, TV appearances and eventually his own TV series. In another development, Dad was invited to redesign the national science curriculum by the Ministry of Education. He had realized that people are designed to understand stories, not to memorize facts. So the traditional method of teaching science through disparate coursework in biology, chemistry, and physics started to seem outdated to him. Drawing from inspiration teaching the story of God’s creation to those college kids, Dad created a curriculum that weaved science into the storyline of the universe. Literally millions of students have benefited from learning about the beauty of God’s creation in a more engaging way through the creation of Dad’s curriculum. I’m really proud of my dad for the positive impact he’s made on the world. I’m really proud of him for knowing himself well enough to take the role despite a short-term pay cut. But I’m most proud of him for his patience and positivity in the midst of his waiting. Dad’s an eternal optimist, and that comes through his faith I suppose. Growing up, my sister and I never sensed any bit of discontent or anxiousness about his calling. Today I often get impatient with the goals I’ve set out in life. But I feel like God is reminding me that he is not slow in keeping his promise. Instead, he is patient with me. If there’s anything you’ve been waiting on, I think God also might also be telling you today that he’s preparing you for something really amazing, so sit tight and strap on your seatbelt. Dear Lord, thank you for having a plan. I declare that you are never late. You are always on time. I love you so much. In your son’s most precious name, Amen.

  • John Kim

Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Last week my friend and advisor Dave Gibbons took me through what he calls a “flow consult.” I walked him through my life story and he talked me through some design principles of how he believes God created me. One idea that he had for me was the word “AND.” “You are Korean AND American. You studied business AND engineering. You love people AND computers. Faith AND work. Public AND private sector. God has designed you to sit at the intersection of things, and that’s ok.” Dave pinpointed an overarching theme on my life, and though I had heard the broad concept before, the new revelation was that I still had some underlying issues with the idea of being an “AND” person. The world bombards us with concepts like the 10,000 hour rule, reinforcing that one never develops any value without focusing on one thing at the exclusion of all else. Dave was quick to remind me that Jesus was heaven AND earth. He ministered to the religious elite AND to the prostitutes. If God has designed me as an AND person, then He could definitely use my nature to minister to others. I don’t believe that you should necessarily aspire to be an AND person. But I do believe that you should aspire to embrace your divine design, whatever traits God has blessed you with. As we learned from the Jesuits yesterday, self-awareness is the first step on the hero’s journey. Lord, thank you for uncovering more of your nature each and every day. Thank you for drawing me closer to your presence, and closer into my destiny of who you’ve designed me to be. I love you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.