To Die Is Gain
I got to spend the second half of the year thinking about the meaning and purpose of death from when my father-in-law went into the Emergency Room in June until he went to be with Jesus at the end of October. As I reflect on this year, I am thankful to Jesus for revealing a deeper meaning of ‘To live is Christ and to die is gain’ through a personal loss. We, as a family, are learning to grieve well through the strength and hope that only Christ brings. I realize the truth that life is lived more fully when you think about “how to die” rather than “how to live”. Our everyday life is filled with what to eat, what to do, who to marry, where to vacation, how to pay the bills, and so on. But I’m learning that each day is lived to its fullest as I think about how my life fits into God’s plan and purpose and as I die to my desires and wishes.
On the other hand, I have the proverbial “front seat” as the Lead Pastor of Center Church, and it is a tremendous joy and privilege to see how God gives life and grows the body of Christ. We praise Jesus for our 2015 babies, Adalyn Eloise Kim and Landon Ochoa! We also went from 2 community groups to 4 community groups meeting throughout the week, and the average Sunday attendance is about 40, including children. One of the ways Center Church displays the gospel is in the context of communal meals shared not only with family and friends, but with visitors and new people. We even had an epic ‘Crab Cookout’ on the 4th of July picnic at Irvine Regional Park with more than 70 people in attendance to enjoy the fellowship!
We began 2015 with back to back-to-back training at the Leader’s Conference with Ken Sande in San Diego in January and then the Together LA event with Tim Keller in February. We continued through the Gospel of John sermon series and expect to finish the series next year. We commissioned Joanna Wong as deacon with the task of maintaining the records and with developing counseling and prayer ministries. During the Advent sermon series, we had two of our own men prepare and preach the Sunday message from John’s gospel.
Pray that we will continue to focus on our identity as God’s people on-mission, displaying the gospel in community as each of us follows Jesus as Lord and Savior.