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  • Writer's pictureJohn Kim

I had a pretty tough childhood. I looked different than the kids in my town. They made fun of me for being scrawny. I wasn’t as athletic as them. I wanted so desperately to be accepted, but instead I was othered. At age ten, I remember thinking “I should just go kill myself. Then they’d feel sorry for bullying me like this.”

Like many others, I started to rebel as a teenager. Funny thing is that my peers started to respect me for it, so I went all in on that strategy. I spent the next decade selling fake IDs, stealing cars and dealing drugs. I had multiple run ins with the police.

Looking back, I realize now that those efforts to earn acceptance were misplaced.

Yesterday we had some disciplinary issues with our oldest son Kyan. I won’t get into details, but at one point he screamed “I just want to kill myself!” He proceeded to jump into the pool with his clothes on and held his head underwater. It was more for dramatic effect than anything, but it had me thinking about my youth this morning, and it brought me to Matthew 3.

In this passage, Jesus emerges from his baptism and God speaks out “this is my son, whom I love. With him I am well pleased.” Whether you’re a Christian or not, it’s hard to deny that this dude called Jesus had a pretty significant impact on the world. And yet before he “did” one thing… before he preached one sermon, before he cast out one demon, before he healed one person… Before Jesus started his public ministry he was fully known and fully loved.

Another translation puts God’s words this way. “You are my dearly loved son, and you bring me great joy.”

The truth is that any effort to earn acceptance is misplaced. You’re not valued because of anything you’ve done. You’re not loved because you’ve been endowed with gifts or talents. God waited on me patiently for decades, smiling as I strived to earn the respect of my peers, my family and my heavenly father. But it wasn’t until I had my own son that I really understood how much I’m loved before I “do” anything.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed today like I am, God wants you to know that he loves you. You bring him incredible joy. Even before you lift a finger, he’s already so pleased with you.

  • Writer's pictureJohn Kim

I remember when Pastor Sam Kim first asked me to preach at Solomon’s Porch Singapore. I had never imagined myself in the pulpit, and really struggled to see myself doing a half decent job. But even when I didn’t believe in myself, my pastor believed in me. He might have regretted it when I got on stage and motor mouthed through the whole sermon in half the allotted time. I was so nervous I’m not sure anyone caught a word of what I was saying.

A couple weeks back I gave my last sermon at SP. I’ve slowed down my delivery, but I still feel so unworthy every time I get up there. Anyways, I shared that when God calls, often it’s from a place of lack. We might feel unable, but he is always able. He always has more faith in us than we have in ourselves.

Every now and then, we encounter a friend, a spouse, or a spiritual father who believes in us more than we believe in ourselves. Make sure to give thanks, because they are a gift from God.

Sermon is at (starts at 33:18)

  • Writer's pictureJohn Kim

Yesterday, Elaine and I went out for a date night that ends a month of celebrations for her 40th birthday. I really enjoyed the quiet, romantic time together, but some of the other parties were much more of a production. One of my friends noted that this wasn’t exactly my natural mode of operation and that I was being really “intentional” in planning all the arrangements.

It’s true. It’s not necessarily my favorite thing to be messaging hundreds of people and sorting logistical details, but I had some amazing help along the way (thanks to the amazing Trehaus team!) Also, I’ve noticed through the years that when I’m doing something I hate, for someone I love, I really start to enjoy the activity. As an example, I’m more of a big picture sort of person, and I pretty much avoid accounting like the plague. But when I took on finance at our church, somehow the numbers just came alive and I really started to enjoy balancing the books, like it was a big, beautiful puzzle.

Pastor Sam Song from Solomon’s Porch Hong Kong likes to say “it’s not that you have to serve, it’s that you get to serve. It’s not that you have to give. It’s that you get to give.”

Elaine and I have been through a lot these past 12 years, but increasingly I’m finding myself in the middle of that reality in our marriage.

I can’t wait to see what God has in store for Elaine in the next 40 years to come! Have no idea what that's gonna be, but I know it's gonna be good... because we have a Father in heaven who is oh so good.

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