Zimele Ambassador Trip 2012

A few weeks ago, ten of us from Metro Community Church took a life transforming voyage to Kwazulu Natal, South Africa.  This is where Zimele is stationed.  We were touched and amazed to see how an entire culture is being empowered to stand on their own two feet.  I hope that some of you will get a chance to visit Zimele and see what they are doing.  It really is a pioneering model that is so different from most NGOs. For more information on Zimele, please log on to here

Enjoy the video!

 

Livin it Up 2012!

An evening where we treat the homeless in Bergen County like Donald Trump.

Physical Healthy Spirituality

The church has failed to teach it’s people that health is critical to our overall spiritual life.  And that is why few Christians seldom consider health to be of importance.  Our natural assumption is that health is tied to our flesh and, in the Bible, flesh or our fleshly desires are considered evil.  Therefore, naturally, we assume that the people who should concern themselves with good health are entertainers, athletes and those who are vain.  Though this is not explicitly taught, it is implicitly assumed.

And when it comes to physical health, pastors are some of the worst examples out there.  Pastors live in hypocrisy if they are not health conscious.  I know that seems harsh, but as I meet pastors from all over the world, I have come to the conclusion that we care very little about our health.  Many pastors are overweight and some are morbidly obese.  The hypocrisy lies within the fact that we claim to be preachers and teachers of the Bible, and yet when it comes to our body, we ignore the Biblical mandate that our bodies matter to God.

Every Christian should care about their overall health, but pastors should especially care because our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.  However, in the US, one of our greatest struggles is obesity and our overall health.  The US is the most obese country in the world.  This is something that we should not be proud of.  Check out these statistics:

  • Close to 20% of Americans have high cholesterol
  • 27.1% of Americans have heart disease. That is 11.8% percent of our population.
  • 33% have hypertension in America.  53% of the Nursing Home population have high blood pressure.
  • 19% of Americans smoke today.
  • Over 11% of the US population has diabetes.

The Apostle Paul teaches us in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.  Paul does not say keep your bodies holy so that God might give you the Spirit.  Rather, he says, in effect, “because the Holy Spirit already dwells in you, you should keep it pure and holy.”  We can’t be spiritually healthy if we are not physically healthy.

Back in July of 2011, I returned from traveling to South Korea.  I had an amazing time doing ministry with some pastors that I love and respect.  I also had the opportunity to deepen friendships and make new ones.  One of the things that we did a lot of on this trip was eat.  Eating is putting it mildly, we literally ate like gluttons.  When I returned from the trip, it took me over a month to get over jet lag.  I believe the reason why it took so long to get over jet lag was because of my lack of health.  I could literally feel the damage that I caused my body with all the eating I did in Korea.

Another event occurred when a close pastor friend of mine called to let me know that he was diagnosed with diabetes.  He was broken and shaken up on the phone as he was sharing how this disease might not allow him to walk his daughter down the aisle and play with his future grandchildren.  He then said something that really struck a cord with me.  He said, “I want to stay in ministry as long as I can, and now with this disease, I may not be able to do that.”  Those were powerful words that paralyzed me.  I had to take a good hard look at my lifestyle and eating habits.  I realized that I do not have any filters when it comes to eating.  I usually eat whatever I want without thinking of how it will affect my body.  I came to the conclusion that if I didn’t change my eating habits and take my overall health seriously, then it would only be a matter of time where I too might fall from a disease like diabetes, heart attack, stroke, etc.  I also dream of walking both my daughters down the aisle and of being healthy enough to play with my future grandchildren.  And I certainly want to be a pastor as long as I possibly can.  I love being a pastor and I hope I can do this even past my retirement years.

If I really wanted to change the way I ate and committed myself to greater health, I knew I needed help.  I called my friend, Taylor Lee, who is a physical therapist/personal trainer/ physical life coach.  Taylor knows me very well.  We have been friends for a long time, and he said that if he was to take me on as one of his clients that I needed to obey everything that he tells me to do.  I agreed to his non-negotiable demands.

In July, Taylor agreed to take me on as one of his clients and, for the next six months, I began a life-transformational journey that has literally impacted every area of my life.   I weighed in at 228 pounds and 31.5 percent body fat.  He told me that I fit into the category of morbidly obese.  In utter disbelief, I realized how far I had allowed my eating habits to damage my body.  His non-negotiable demands were: to work out six times a week where he trained me for three of them, and the other three days, I was on my own.  I also had to send him a daily log of my diet.  He instructed me not to eat any foods with MSG, high in salt and sugar.  I was to give up eating red meat and substitute it with fish, turkey and grilled chicken.  Lastly, he told me to eat whole grain foods rather than foods that are flour based.  This meant that I had to refrain from eating Korean food which is, many times, flour and red-meat based, high in sodium and MSG.  This was a painful sacrifice because I love Korean food, but one that I was willing to sacrifice for the sake of my overall health.

For those six months, I did everything that Taylor told me to do and I can honestly say that I have never felt this good in my life.  My diet has completely changed and the strict six- month diet that I had to adhere to is now something that I am committed to doing for the rest of my life.

Physically I feel great!  I have never had so much energy during the day and I even look good! The greatest benefit, by far, to this life transformation process is my spiritual health.  I am more focused and in tune with God and the Holy Spirit in a way that I have never experienced before.  This is why I have come to the conclusion that you and I cannot be spiritually healthy unless we are physically healthy too.

In December, I weighed 205 pounds and I measured at 18.5 percent body fat.  It was a huge transformation.  I continue to stay on the healthy track where I work out five times a week and eat healthy from Monday through Friday.   On the weekends, I have my Korean food, some sweets and other foods that I normally don’t eat during the week, but all in moderation.

I share this with you to hopefully encourage you to take your health seriously.  If I can do it, anyone can do it.  God didn’t send Jesus Christ to die for just for your soul, but he came to die for your body as well.  If that is the case, then you and I must take our health seriously.  If you are a pastor, being healthy is something that you should take very seriously.  We have the greater responsibility to be an example to our congregation.  The “pace of a leader is the pace of the team.”  Lead the way to greater health not just for yourself but for the church that God has called you to lead.

If you have any questions, I’d love to hear from you.  Feel free to respond.

Also, if you would like to consult with Taylor Lee about your health, please feel free to reach out to him.  Visit his website here.  Taylor is the best physical life coach out there, period!  You won’t find a better person.  Also, Taylor has invented this shake that played a critical role in my six month transformation.  I call it the miracle shake, but he calls it the maven shake.  It is loaded with probiotics, antioxidants, vitamins, omega 3 and 6, protein, and fiber.   I drink this shake every morning and will continue to for the rest of my life.  I encourage you to order it at here.

Also, I preached a sermon on health earlier this month.  To listen to it click here.

Zimele – Continuing to Transform Lives!!!!

Prison Ministry Experience by Michael Hong

Christian D. and I had the privilege to worship the Lord at the NJ state Maximum Security prison in Rahway NJ last Sunday.  I cannot express in words the quality of worship that the these men behind bars were enjoying.  There was real joy and laughter in this church.  The Holy spirit was anointing them/us at this place.  Brothers of metro,  let us learn how to worship from these marginalized men.  I have documented our experience last weekend.  I pray that this will be a blessing to you all and ultimately our church.

It was 5:50 pm as Christian, Ulisse and I left Dunkin Donuts to cross into the town or Rahway NJ.  As we approached a large parking lot fenced out with miles of rusted barbed wire, Ulisse pointed to a newer building  that was separate from the main prison.  He said, “That’s the new building for the sex offenders, It is detached from the main prison for their own protection.”.  I though…just like in the movies.

We left all of our belongings in the car and just took our IDs.  Prior to coming here, we were instructed to NOT wear any colors blue, red and never wear any khakis.  The first 2 colors may get you killed and the khakis will make you blend in with the inmates.

Soon we met the Chaplin Larry Atkins. Energetic, smart with a deep love for the work that the Lord has given him. Quickly he gave us some advice on what to expect and what the inmates are expecting from us.  He also gave us some testimony about a recent saved OG (Original Gangster) that was trying to kill him once a time and how God used this hate that turned into respect and ultimately a baptism by water and the Holy Spirit.

The first thing that I could think of is how can we document this,  how can we bottle this up and share it with the world…

There were series of doors, airport body scanners, a pat down, UV stamp etc and we were in.  We walked through a court yard into an empty sanctuary.  Ulisse told me that the men are in the mess hall and will be arriving at the appointed time.  Soon the men came in, all at once.  We greeted them at the door. I noticed that they were all smiling and praising God.  They all shook our hands and street hugged us, as they are accustomed to doing,  praising the name of God.  To me, the faces reminded me of angels.  Later, Christian told me that he saw the face of Jesus in these brothers.

The choir huddled behind me to practice and soon shuffled on to the stage.  The ushers came and greeted me and thanked me for coming to worship with them.  I was glad that there were huge guys since I was told that they were also our body guards (to the death)  least something happens during worship. One usher was formerly from the Crips and killed 6 men as they resembled the murderer of his twin sister.  He recently  found out that the murderer was in the same prison, same sanctuary worshiping with him side by side.  Though his friends begged him to kill for revenge, he denied them as Jesus forgave his sins and he forgave the murder’s sins.  The murderer was immediately transferred for his safty.  Praise God… I know that only the Holy Spirit can manage this change.

“Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” X10 exclaimed the 350 pound be-speckled worship leader with the voice of an angel… off we went to paradise.  I thought, this is how we should worship.  With fervor, desperation and gladness, joy and love, these brothers, captive in a maximum security prison rocked the house.

During the fiery sermon, I asked Ulisse, how the brothers can recite so many verses like my iPad as the preacher referenced all throughout the bible?  He said all they have is time.  It was still impressive that they were able to finish verbatim  the quoted scripture that the preacher started to read, in King James nonetheless.

The Holy Spirit was active and present in our mist. From the beginning to the end we saw heaven.  Authentic and deeply significant.

When we were leaving, The Chaplin reminded us that some of these prisoners are released back into society.  He expressed that the real problem was that the church on the outside really never accepts them.  I wondered about our church.  He also said that there are not enough outside receiving programs for them to re-adjust back into society.

Brothers,  If you want to know more and want to be involved,  I guarantee you that you will be transformed.  You can contact me at nylonpunk@gmail.com

Livin It Up! 2011

Another amazing year for Metro’s annual banquet for homeless people in Bergen County.  This year, we had 185 adults and 40 children join us as VIPs.  This is a new Metro record!  Thank you to every Metro volunteer.  You served your hearts out.  A very special thanks to Jung Kim who was the architect for this great event.  Enjoy the video (produced by Won Huh).

 

A Beautiful Zulu Poem

Granny Zibenzele

Fed up! Can’t stand up on these feet. No voice
to hear. No fire in belly, I’m beat. No choice.

Drip, drip, drip change begins small, but then when
from within; becomes big, meaningful, again and again.

You can’t deliver self esteem on a plate
But raise me up… new skills, I rise to make Africa great.

I find voice, I create choice, on fire now I read
With Zimele’s help and support; now I am freed.

By: Jess Driscoll