“You are a prospering sinner.”
Such was one of many phrases emphasized by Pastor Steve Lee from Living Hope Community Church on Saturday in his message to some 600 college students at the ‘Gospel Renewal Night’ hosted by Korean American Campus Mission (KCM).
This is the third time KCM, a college ministry comprising mostly of Korean American students from eight campuses in Southern California, has hosted the joint campus worship night.
“Our hope is simply that the students were refreshed and renewed by the Gospel,” said Sam Bay, the special events coordinator of KCM. “We also always hope that there are non-Christians who come and are challenged to consider the Gospel for the very first time.”
Of the phrase ‘prospering sinner,’ Lee focused primarily on the ‘prospering’ aspect on Saturday night. Lee, who also serves college students as the college ministry pastor at Living Hope, started by asking the collegians whether they have ever felt like they have always tried to do good and live well, but rather than those good efforts leading to more ‘blessings,’ “things just go south.” Meanwhile, people who seem to live immorally and “have no regard for God” seem to prosper and live even more happily than those who try to pursue righteousness.
“If you have felt that way, you are not alone,” said Lee, who spoke on Psalm 73, a passage in which the author, Asaph, recounts a time when he was envious of those who lived wickedly. However, at the conclusion of the passage, Asaph praises God.
“When he [Asaph] sat with God, he was reminded of not only God’s work, but his worth,” Lee said. “He is the greatest thing in all of existence.”
Lee said that Christians often forget the awe that comes with the fact that they have access to God himself, and that God pays attention to each individual.
“Because of Christ and what he has done, we can say, ‘I have God with me.’ He knows my name, and I know him. When we say, ‘Father,’ his undivided attention is on us. Why is that no longer crazy to us? Why is it that, so rarely we wake up in the morning and we say, ‘Wow, I can’t believe it. I can’t believe he’s mine.’ Instead, we wake up in the morning and we say, ‘Man, why does that guy get to have that?’”
“The reality is, true prosperity is actually knowing God,” Lee said. “True prosperity is knowing and having relationship with the greatest thing in existence.”
“This is why the gospel is so beautiful. This is why the gospel matters and is so truly good news. You know what the gospel brings you to ultimately? God. You get God,” Lee continued. “The greatest reward of the gospel is God himself.”
The Gospel Renewal Night is one of several joint campus events that KCM hosts each school year. Some other joint campus events that take place during the year include the Fall Sports Fellowship, a day of sports and activities; the Winter Conference, an all-campus retreat; Mission Rally Night, a worship event to encourage students to participate in summer mission trips; Powderpuff, a girls’ football tournament; and an all-campus softball tournament. The Winter Retreat will be taking place from January 2 to 5.
“We particularly picked GRN to happen in the fall because that is when all the schools are starting,” said Sam Bay. “We wanted to make it clear that the Gospel is central to what we want to communicate to our students and to also provide an avenue for our students to bring their friends and non-Christian peers.”
The Gospel Renewal Night also featured worship led by Kay Lim, a KCM staff and the worship pastor of Good Stewards Church.
KCM has a presence in public and private universities across Southern California including in UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, Biola University, Pepperdine University, and University of Southern California.