42 and counting…

“That is Korea” captures the history that my grandparents, parents and I have been part of.

The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”  Psalm 90:10, 12

I am in the second half of my life according to the prayer and wisdom of Moses.
Here’s the list of numbers that help me recount God’s sovereign grace over my life and the way of wisdom the Holy Spirit has led me thus far…

My mother who gave birth to me went to be with Jesus in glory in 2010 after having lived eighty years of life that Moses described in his prayer.  She was a woman of strength, passion for Jesus, and sacrifice to her family.

She was 43 years old when she was pregnant with me. The life of poverty and despair tempted my mother to think about not having me. Then God intervened in her dream. In her dream, her youngest boy (my brother who was 8 years old) was having a seizure and she begged God to heal him. That’s when she felt God speak to her the value of life not only of her 8 years old son, but of her son she was carrying in her womb. Ever since that dream, the thought of not bringing another child due to financial hardship and social embarrassment never crossed her mind.

I’m forever grateful to my mother who loved and sacrificed so much. Jesus, thank you, for speaking into my life even before I was born. This story definitely is a keeper and will continue to bear witness in my life.

The number of years I have been following Jesus as my Lord and Savior. When I was 12, I attended a winter retreat during which I distinctly remember the gospel preached. Even though I grew up in church, the reality of sin, Jesus, and God was never personal. They were simply words to the rules of the game I played at church – saying the right words and doing enough right things to play the role of a good Christian boy. Jesus, thank you, for speaking to me by your Spirit during the sermon and the response time when I first realized that you died on the cross for my sins, repented of my hidden rebellion, and trusted you to provide meaning, purpose and value for my life.

The number of years I have been in pastoral ministry from internship to church planting.  When I was 22, I started serving as children’s pastor at Cerritos Presbyterian Church located in Artesia, CA. The call to ministry I received during my freshman year at college has been confirmed and started an internship a year before I attended the seminary. Jesus, thank you, for calling me to ministry and showing me what shepherding your flock looks like from children, youth, college, young adults, adults, and people from different countries and cultures that I may gain a heart of wisdom to impart the knowledge – the knowledge of knowing you in different seasons and stages of life and following you through it all. You have taught me so much what life looks like from “conception to completion” – all the births, baptisms, church disciplines, counseling sessions, divorces, emergency rooms, graduations, home visits, parties, prison cells, weddings, and funerals.

The age I received a call to ministry.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 6:33

I sat by the Janss steps at UCLA and was reading the Sermon on the Mount recorded in the gospel of Matthew.
Jesus, thank you, for preaching the gospel and calling me to follow you to live freely and confidently in my Father’s world.

The number of years I got to do life with my wife, Carol, since we were married in 2002.  Jesus, thank you, for the blessing of wife, children (Karis and Kaden), and family that foreshadows what seeing your family looks like here on earth and later on the new earth. You have indeed fulfilled your promise to add “all these things” and I am truly blessed beyond measure.

The number of generations from my grandparents to my children that have heard the gospel.  I loved the story of my grandfather who was a teacher in Manchuria (China). He spoke Korean, Chinese, and Japanese. He was a cross-cultural leader and businessman who owned a store and helped a church planter start a church in the city in North Korea that borders China. His father went to church. His brother went to prison for his faith and died under the imperial Japanese occupation of Korea. His sons all became elders of churches. In fact, my uncle, the youngest son of my grandfather, went to Japan to plant a church in Tokyo in 1970.  This church has planted 3 more churches and still continues to be a witness for Jesus.  Jesus, thank you, for the heritage of faith, love of the church, and faithfulness unto death in my family.

The number of my children and the number of years living in Irvine, CA. It’s the second year for Center Church (started in 2013). It’s also the second year for the Choi Agency (Farmers Insurance). Jesus, thank you, for the gift of children, the city, the local church and the agency to grow, build, nurture, and protect.

One woman (Carol) man. There is only one God. Jesus is God.  Jesus, you are #1 in my life.

There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.
Ephesians 4:4-6

The number of followers and friends online and the number of people in the past, present, and future to whom I get to be a witness to Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Jesus, thank you, for the influence and the impact I can make for your glory.

Thank you, friends, for your blessings, wishes, prayers and thoughts for my birthday.
Your Attention and Affection mean so much to me and make this day truly special and significant.
Let me have the honor of asking you for Action to help increase the count for God’s blessings and stories:
1. Share this story and subscribe to hold me accountable.
2. Like Center Church Facebook Page
3. Like Choi Agency Facebook Page