My marriage charge

Today is our 6 year anniversary. It was quite the miracle. I thank God every day for my wife. I love my Soo, and I am glad to be married!

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God has blessed us greatly. Yet, it has not always been easy and we feel like we fail often. It was somewhat a surprise when we were asked to give a charge at a wedding last summer.

We were so honored. And not only did we give the charge but Halle was the flower girl and Josiah was the ring bear(er).IMG_6063

After presenting the charge, many came up to us saying they appreciated what we shared. We were a little anxious about it, but really the charge was a reminder for us as well- and today as i approach our anniversary, i want to review the charge i gave someone else as a charge to us as well.

Many people think marriage will be easy or solve all problems. Recently watched master of none and the marriage scene was kinda  funny as they exchanged their vows and all the other couples rolled their eyes.

While the charge was personal to them, i think it could be helpful for others- i certainly think it would be helpful for me to listen to.
Here is the charge we gave:

Ben, as I have known you, you are one who loves adventure- and you are about to embark on the greatest adventure of marriage…
I also know you as one who has followed the voice & direction of the Holy Spirit. And you will need his empowerment and direction as you embark on this new journey with Sarah together.

And so I give you this charge from God’s Word

Be filled with the Spirit… Husbands, love your wife as Christ loves the church.

It’s simple right? Love your wife.

Not really.

You spent a year in India, and I’m from Indian decent, so I’ll share this. In America, you marry the one you love. In India, it’s love the one you marry. You have a great blessing to marry one you love, now you have a great challenge to love the one you marry.

Love you wife, as Christ loves the church.

That means you love Sarah sacrificially. You not only are willing to give up your life, you give up your life. Giving up your life  may not mean taking a bullet and dying for her- it will mean something much more difficult – dying to self, dying to your dreams, dying to your rights. You love her sacrificially by giving her time even when you don’t feel like it, when you feel like being by yourself or with your buddies or watching a movie. You love her sacrificially by investing in the things she enjoys.

Loving as Christ loves the church means being gracious, being faithful, being kind, being a servant. That is doing good to her, when she has done wrong to you. Speaking words of encouragement when you feel put down. Serving her when you feel she should be serving you.

And if you are to love her as Christ loves the church, you are going to need to continually fill yourself up with God’s love. So I charge you to walk with Christ, and look to Him to fill your needs and satisfy you.

I pray you will know the width & length and height and depth of God’s love. And that Sarah will know that as well thru you. And then you can be fruitful and multiply that love to others.

Sarah, You are a beautiful bride, and today is such a beautiful wedding. We know you love weddings and you have been looking forward to this day for a long time. But today is not the culmination but the beginning of your beautiful marriage.

You may be tempted to look to Ben to be the one who makes all your dreams come true and to satisfy every longing of your heart, but he won’t. Marriage does not bring an end to insecurity or solve all problems. Only Christ can satisfy, only Christ will bring contentment.

And so the way Matt ends, I begin: I charge you to look to Jesus to satisfy your heart, for ultimate comfort and perfect peace. Do not allow Ben to become your savior. Seek first Christ, make time with God a priority.

You are the bride of Ben, but marriage reflects the relationship of the church with Christ, so just as you prepared & planned for this wedding day, prepare your heart to meet your Savior by pursuing holiness and purity of heart for the Lord.

And thus, when you are commanded to submit to your husband, you can rest in the Lord as you respect Ben’s leadership.

Respect Ben. Respect him unconditionally. Don’t make him earn your respect by figuring out what to do for you or by doing everything perfectly. Give him your respect before he even deserves it. Affirm him and encourage him. Do things that he enjoys. Go with him on journeys that sometimes may feel uncomfortable. Be honest with him, respecting his care and love for you. Learn to show respect to him, even when you are feeling rejected. Reject opportunities to be critical and instead show grace.

You will need the power of the Holy spirit, so I charge you as you develop your marriage, rely on the power of God, rather than your own strength and intuition, which will often be your first instinct, but be filled with the Spirit.

Ben & Sarah we charge you to make God known thru your marriage first to one another, then to the others around you. We love you and we are so excited for how God will use you to bless each other and the community you are in.

Here’s the truth about marriage:
1. Marriage does not eliminate loneliness & insecurity.
Some may think if they just got married they would feel secure. They always have someone with them- but just as a person can be ain crowded room and feel all alone, many feel that in marriage. Furthermore, Soo has pointed out- now fear is even stronger. What is something happens to my spouse? Death is going to happen. And though Divorce is not something we even contemplate, it is all around us, so we can’t escape the fear… Especially when there is Difficulty- which will happen, and which will make the insecurities abound – is there something wrong with me? Why can’t i ever do things right? Which leads to the 2nd and third truths…

2. Marriage is not easy
One may think if i am with the one i love, with my best friend – then, well, it’s easy. But think about it- the people who have shown us the most unconditional love and care are often the ones we have the most conflict – our parents. The more we know someone, the more we see their sin- and worse, the more they see of our sin. There will be conflict, there will be trouble. It will become difficult to love sometimes.

3. Marriage does not bring satisfaction.
And often the reason we have these troubles is because we are looking to marriage to something it can’t fully do. Marriage is good, but only God satisfies. And if i make an idol out of my spouse- my sorrows will multiply(Psalm 16:4). I only burden my wife when i do this, and only frustrate myself. Surely Soo is a blessing, someone who brings much joy in my life and one who loves me and who i love deeply. But she isn’t ultimate.

Here’s another truth- Marriage is good.
Good in that we are blessed by another.
Good in that it was designed by God.
Good in that God uses it to reveal and shape our heart and to point us back to Jesus.
We need His strength and power and presence to make marriage work, to love and respect.
And marriage reflects our relationship with God – a relationship that God desires to show love and a deep intimacy He desires, and a relationship that will truly satisfy- the relationship with Him.

i thank God for Soo and thank God for these 6 years and looking forward to the next 60! i thank God that He is cord that binds us together.

We do celebrate each other and celebrate our marriage. More so we celebrate the God who gave us each other, and the God who gave us Himself.

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Our 6 year anniversary

Our  6 year anniversary is tomorrow. i can’t believe it has only been 6 years, as i can’t imagine life without Soo.

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God did not owe me anything, but He has blessed me with a wonderful, beautiful wife.

We have had our share of conflicts and difficulties to be sure – but i am so glad and so thankful for my wife.

Soo is an amazing woman of God, who loves me and loves our children very much. And she loves others – students or strangers – to such a great degree it can drive me crazy. Her generosity and service is unmatched. She is kind-hearted and gracious.

She is full of faith and challenges me by how she pursues honoring God and loving people. And shows me the Gospel by how she forgives others an forgives me.

She is certainly the most beautiful girl in the world.

Matt&Soo_Wedding-1-17.hiBut while there could be many reasons to love her, I love her simply because of who she is. I will always love her- no matter what, even when I am upset with her.

Unfortunately i don’t always love her well. i make a lot of mistakes- when i am trying to love her- and sin much more often than i wish i did. She certainly deserves much better than me.

Soo is blessed not to have a relationship with me – that is in fact a lot of work- But she is blessed to have a relationship with Christ.
We have certainly been blessed by marriage – but fortunately, God has blessed us even more. This relationship is certainly good, but the relationship we can have with God is infinitely greater!

And so I hope this next year, and every year, that I will help her experience the Gospel and know the love of God more and more.
Soo, I want to reflect Christ to you when I can, and point you to Jesus even more.

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Thank You God for Soo, Thank You more for yourself. Thank You for loving us – which is seen not that You blessed me with a wife and family- but seen in the giving of Yourself. 
May Soo & I grow closer to one another as we continue in marriage, and may we cause each other closer to Christ!
I ask you to empower me to love and reflect you to her.

Be our source of love, and be the satisfaction we seek.
Remind us of our vows to one another.
Be glorified in us.
Amen

i love you honey!

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The one with Hope for Muncie

A couple years ago, our good friends the Holowells announced they were leaving staff with Cru to plant a church in Muncie.
Though they left staff earlier than we thought, we were glad to know they were staying in town. But it left us torn as well.
We love the Holowells, but we love our church here at Ball State. The Gospel is preached every week. The teaching is great, the liturgy edifying and the doctrine sound (even though i don’t agree with everything they hold to).There is a good mix of young and old, contemporary worship and old hymns.
The community is solid. And our kids love it. A big part were the Holowell kids who are the same age and bestest of friends, but they were developing other friends…

Then they said they were going to plant a multi-cultural church, and that made it EASY – we would not be going with them.

Multi-cultural churches are hard to get going and even harder to maintain. There would be awkwardness and difficulty. Worship styles, teaching styles, personalities… too much work, too inconvenient, too uncomfortable…

But as we continued to hear about it and pray about it, the more Lord laid it on our heart to go.
It was a vision on my heart when i initially joined staff. God in making me Indian and making my wife korean, has given us plartform to connect with people; There are less barriers for us than many others face; we are given more grace. And we have experience working in other culturals – America being one of them, as well as living overseas and working with internationals.

We have bought into the Vision- Hope for Muncie.
In some ways it feels like there is a church on every corner- why another church?
But a multi-cultural church? One that is trying to bring people together from different social, economic, cultural backgrounds?
We are excited to be part of a dream that is an extension of a dream we celebrate today on MLK.
Surely there are many good churches in the area that are effective in reaching out to the community. We are not opposed to them or in competition with them. We want to work alongside them, and create attention for Christ in a community that has mostly forgotten Him.

We don’t all of a sudden think it will be easy.
People in churches where people are very much alike have conflicts- how about one where the people are very different?

But we are not choosing the easiest thing for us, but the best for us- the best for God’s Kingdom purposes.
We will have to leave a comfortable environment, a familiar one – to help plant a church and make a difference in a community.
Church is a place to worship, but also to serve. A Community that provides an environment for others to worship – not by taking people from other churches, but gathering families that are not worshipping, or not worshipping fully.

And by being part of a multi-cultural church, we are committing not just to a comfortable community, but to the kingdom. God’s kingdom is about all peoples. People who are not like us. Bringing together people who are not naturally friends- and making them family!

In Ephesians, Paul writes that Christ has done thru His flesh what nothing else could- He has broken down the dividing wall of hostility. HE Unites Jews and Gentiles. HE is our peace who makes us one.  He brings the far near.
HE reconciles us all – to God, and to each other!
And James tells us that God shows no partiality – be it rich or poor.
Heaven will be a beautiful place of many colors.

They don’t let kids sing this anymore – but – Jesus loves the little children- all the children of the world: Red, Yellow, (Brown), Black, White – they are precious in His sight!

We feel by taking this step of faith, we will see God’s heart, see God’s power, and our faith will be stretched. We will gain a greater vision for eternity. We will be blessed beyond measure as we gain new friends, and exposed to the beauty of diversity.
And we trust God will take care of us along the way.
Yet, ultimately, it is not about us- but the Glory of God.

As we consider our involvement, we are now praying about moving into downtown Muncie.
Downtown Muncie may not be like downtown Chicago or downtown LA, but it is not the suburbs either. At first I thoght it doesn’t matter.
But, there is crime, there are drugs. Muncie may be the highest producers of meth in the country. There are certain risks.
And because of that. Lord-willing, I want to move there.
Soo grew up in an environment like that- and she is walking with Jesus now.
But if it is dark place, well then it needs light, it needs hope.
We want to be there to provide it.

Long ago, i went to Chicago on a Spring Break trip. They gave us “With Justice for all” by John Perkins, and shared his model for ministry. If we want change for communities, we need to go there and live there. We need people to live in these communities to be the light, to show the love, to be like Christ and go live among them.
Reading Tim Keller’s Generous Justice concreted that in my mind.
The goal isn’t just a church, but restoration.

We’ve committed to going (Lord-willing of course), we would love for you to join us and bring hope for Muncie.

11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ,alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken downin his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself onenew man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,[d] but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by[e] the Spirit.

My weekly Review Week 1 2016

Reflection on 2016 week 1

10 things i am thankful for

  1. my beautiful wife and her 35 years of life
  2. gift of time – no appointments, nothing pressing, no meetings – time to write, read a bit, be with my family a lot
  3. good Christian books… though i didn’t love them
  4. Your Word- which was much more powerful in itself
  5. Gift of singing! i have loved having a song in my head and on my lips every day, in response to what i was reading or whatever… singing a lot of praise!
  6. warmth – hot showers, blankets, fireplace, and nice weather
  7. my kids- even if they drove me crazy a lot. They also warmed my heart a ton
  8. The Holowells- for watching our kids, but also for their friendship!
  9. free food and drinks (chik-fil-A, coffee)
  10. beautiful snow- even if it makes driving crazy

highlights

  1. Halle sitting in my lap, watching football
  2. no conflict with Soo
  3. writing a lot
  4. beginning the new year with worship, and singing a lot
  5. playing with kids
  6. doing pretty well with most of my goals
    1. not snacking after 8 (though i made a sandwich last night)
    2. praying with Soo
    3. reading daily devos (not each every day, but pretty close)
    4. devos, praying with kids
    5. reading a good amount
    6. getting some time with the Lord for the most part
    7. writing
  7. reading
  8. lots of time w Soo
  9. watching Master of None
  10. celebrating Soo, ice-skating
  11. watching a few minutes of football

Themes of the week

  1. reading & praying with the family
  2. singing praise
  3. enjoying freedom
  4. celebrating Soo – or trying to
  5. writing
  6. beginnings of working on mpd
  7. Victory over the grave, over death, over sin

songs of the week

  1. Sinking Deep
  2. Good good Father
  3. Forever
  4. I will follow
  5. Christ is enough
  6. This is amazing Grace
  7. Great are You lord
  8. Holy Spirit
  9. I surrender all
  10. love ran red
  11. Everlasting God
  12. Same power

 

What did God teach me, speak to me about Himself, myself

  1. death, grave, sin – they cannot overcome me
  2. The Lord is a refuge and shield around me
  3. His divine power has given me everything
  4. i am defensive and rationalize sin
  5. i seek, pursue fame

 

The one where we decide to adopt

Soo & i have decided to adopt.

If you know us, you know we have not only been in the process for several months, but have long desired to adopt. The question we had was “when”.

The question we get is “Why?”

We already have 2 kids, and we are young enough to have more. And we have 2 young kids, who we cannot keep up with anyway. Are we just gluttons for punishment? Or are we just foolish?
Many may think we are crazy… including myself.

Many factors go into our decision to adopt, but primarily we want to adopt to honor God, bless others, and believe God is leading us this direction. We are still in process, and if God has different plans for us He will redirect.

Adoption is not about us. In fact, it is not even about the child. It’s about God.

But, that’s the spoiler… let me try to share a bit more…

Back in the summer there had been much in the news about planned parenthood and abortion. Such stories make me sad. I feel sad for the unborn child and for the expectant mother. I can’t imagine the turmoil a person must have when they even consider an abortion. Life is tough. I don’t want to make life on others tougher. I want to offer grace, love, and help.

As I consider these things, I don’t want to just to say things, I want to do something.

Before Soo & I got married, one thing that drew us to one another was a mutual interest in adoption. We see it as a way to help & bless others. We see people in need. We see children who don’t have a home, who could feel neglected and unloved. We want children to know they are loved.

All of us are loved by God. He does not desire any should perish. And the bible speaks often for His compassion on orphans.

More so, when I think of adoption, I think of an opportunity to imitate God and glorify God. And thus even to know and experience God more. As we act like God, we understand Him. As we imitate God, we see how He treats us. We get greater understanding.

And so more than adopting to make me feel like I am doing something, or for the sake of the child, I consider adoption as a way to honor & know God – I do it not for myself or for another, I do it for God. I don’t do it simply to make a difference, but to follow Christ.

Now as I consider that step of faith, I consider the kids I have already – and how difficult it is to parent them. They make me frustrated. I get annoyed, irriated, lose my patience, and long for free time.
And I think
“Do I want more kids?”
More, I wonder
“Am I cut out for more kids?”

But if I were only to follow God when I felt I could handle it, I wouldn’t go very far. And if I waited until I was qualified, I would be waiting forever.

And so adoption is a step of faith.

Not something I do for me to make my life fulfilling. Not something i do because i am so great at it. Not offering myself as an expert or better than others, but to stretch my faith.
And that is a good thing.

Being a parent is a big responsibility and an honorable one. God gives us a great privilege to shepherd children.
Some look at this world and see only trouble. We should not bring kids into this world. But I look and see the problems in this world and see possibility and responsibility. Someone needs to help the young in this country understand the Gospel and follow God. They need to be shepherded. And I want to build up men and women into followers of Christ.

And what an opportunity adoption allows.

So we don’t do it for ourselves. We do it not to give us a sense of self worth or identity. Nor to release ourselves from guilt or shame. We do it not to make a contribution or because we think we are qualified. We don’t do it so the child or others will appreciate us.
Adoption will require hard work, sacrifice, disappointment…
But we do it for ourselves in this:
It will grow our faith! – Requiring us to rely on God and step out of comfort zones.
 It will make us more like God – as we imitate Him, and as we know Him. As we act out love, act out the Gospel.
It will draw us closer to God, as we experience Him and know Him.
And we believe, there will be much joy. Sure, i give the impression that being a parent has ruined everything, but i wouldn’t trade my kids for the world!
And i look forward to loving my child. Loving and enjoying my child.

So… Soo & I are on a journey. We began looking into adoption, researched agencies, trying to understand the procedures and process, and prepare ourselves for another child and how to prepare our kids for another child.
We have begun the process to do foster care with the hopes of adopting (which is a whole other story).
Who knows, maybe we’ll be the Indian and Korean parents with a white child.

The longer we are on this journey, the more i see God’s heart. Repeatedly He calls His people to care for the widow, the refugee, the fatherless, the orphan.
The Gospel is a story of God rescuing us, restoring us from a broken relationship, adopting us as His own children, loving us deeply. Being our Father.

We are looking into adoption because we believe God is directing us that way now. Perhaps we’ll never adopt, who knows. But we want to take a step of faith – so we may bless, shepherd & love a child. Build up God’s kingdom and instill Biblical values; And to honor God, glorify God, follow God and grow in faith.

This is why we are going to adopt… and maybe you would consider it too! There are many out there who need parents, who need godly examples.
Consider reading “Generous Justice” by Tim Keller. Or perhaps watch this talk by Beth Guckenberger, which strongly encouraged us this week.

I am sure there are things we are missing, stuff we don’t know, ways we need to grow. We appreciate your prayers and feedback along the way.