July Update

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Dear family and friends,

It’s been exactly one month since we arrived Orange County, CA last month. The photo above was taken from a magazine at a hotel room the night before we moved into our home in Irvine.

The unpacking is done except a couple dozen boxes in the garage. Our family has been worshipping at Mars Hill Church Orange County. Below is the list of some of the highlights last few weeks.
1. Carol and I attended Acts 29 Network Pastors Retreat.
2. I attended a gathering of Asian American pastors hosted by Saddleback Church.
3. We had a big Choi family reunion gathering on the 4th of July.
4. Vision 360 church planters gathering in Long Beach, CA.
5. Mars Hill OC’s Men’s Bootcamp on July 14th.

God has answered prayer points I shared last month.

1. Courage: Ruth Younts in her book Get Wisdom: 23 Lessons for Children About Living for Jesus defines courage as “Doing what must be done, even when I am afraid and I think it is too hard.”

As I go over these lessons with my children during family devotions, I am reminded of how I, as a child of God am encouraged and empowered by the Holy Spirit to do what must be done, even when I am afraid and think it is too hard – making disciples and planting churches to the glory of my Father.

I have been reading through the book of Joshua in my daily devotions. I reflected much about the spiritual warfare and realized how Jesus who is in me is greater than the one who is in the world (1 John 4:4). I ask what it would look like for me to engage and seek to enrich people in my spheres – biological (family), vocational (ministry leaders, pastors and planters), recreational (hobbies and interests), geographical (neighbors) and digital (online social network).

One of the hard things I started during last month is creating a digital platform for sharing my life, leadership, and legacy – WordPress and Tumblr accounts to update my work as a pastor as well as my life as a disciple of Jesus. The plan is to use WordPress (pastorsamuel.com) to share my work as a pastor and planter – ministry focused and Tumblr (samuelchoi.tumblr.com) to share my life – family, fun and interests.

2. Clarity: “Clarify your assumptions to create clear expectations” is what my wife, Carol, helped to elucidate as we discussed and prayed for what, when, who and how of the mission of starting a new church.

We are asking three questions:
First, what would it look like to plant a healthy church where we see “new births” in Jesus?
Second, what would it look like to plant a growing church where we see “new growth” by the Holy Spirit?
Third, what would it look like to plant a multiplying church where we see “new churches” for God’s kingdom?

3. Contacts: God has answered our prayers for contacts at many levels.

First, Mars Hill elders at Mars Hill Orange County.
Pastor Nick Bogardus has welcomed me and my family to Mars Hill OC and to the elder team for the mission of making disciples and planting churches in Orange County. Pastor Nick introduced me as a Mars Hill elder in sending to start a new Acts 29 church plant. Pastor Dave Kraft (Leadership from the Heart) has graciously agreed to provide gospel coaching for my life and leadership.

Second, church planters and pastors in the area.
Through the events and meetings I mentioned in the highlights above, I got to meet many church planters and pastors in the area from whom I can learn from their stories and lessons and do life together as fellow missionaries.

Third, Mars Hill members, attendees, and people Jesus connected.
Last week felt like a regular work week as I followed up with Mars Hill members, attendees, and connected with people I got to meet since we moved. Also, we are praying how we can get to know our neighbors beyond brief greetings and conversations.

I covet your prayers for the following goals.

Goals for Summer & Fall 2012
1. Finalize the church plant project plan
2. Fundraise for the church plant project
3. Start community group and make disciple making disciples
4. Build teams in and for Mars Hill Church Orange County

Thanks for reading a long update, hope to follow-up with shorter and frequent ones.

Enjoy your summer,

Samuel

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