The Work as Worship Retreat is an annual event that focuses on connecting faith and work. This year will have a satellite group meeting in our area at Church Project. Brothers and sisters from local business’s Christian groups such as GE, HP, and more are also being invited to participate.
“It was a year like no other. Amid the massive losses inflicted by a global pandemic, bitter political divisions and racial unrest that exploded into violence, glimmers of light shone through the darkness…” This is how History.com opens its year retrospective article. Compare this statement to the theme verse for GDOP 2020, John 1:4-5: “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” These statements may sound similar, but we know the world isn’t able to fully acknowledge the true source of the “glimmers of light that shone through the darkness” until (He) is shone on them. John himself states this later in chapter one: “He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.”
This is where GDOP came in last year, as it does every year, as a reminder of the source of the light in this world. “Christ > (is greater than) crisis” was the God-inspired theme for the event, chosen before any of us understood how significant it would be by November 6th. It was the first time in over 10 years of events that we hosted a virtual event via Zoom, where worship was led by representatives around the globe. We had record participation from 600+ people, across 50+ sites and 30+ countries and the special inclusion of our alumni prayer.
Jesus instructed us in his Sermon on the Mount that: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let you light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 4:14-16. So many of you have reflected this light by faithfully serving the Lord in your homes, your communities, you teams, and in this event. A big THANK YOU note to ALL, from all corners of the Earth who, in unison honored Christ, a name above all names & any crisis. Let us continue to be the light that the Father has called us to be as we press on through this pandemic.
To recap, see links to GDOP 2020 material & volunteer to serve in the 2021 event by responding to the survey:
We are so glad that you are here. This has been a challenging year for everyone in unique ways. Between the global pandemic, the financial stress on our company, and social unrest in many parts of the world, it is easy to feel like we are drowning. For this reason, this year’s GDOP theme will be CHRIST IS GREATER than Crisis – a reminder that we have a Savior who walks on water, who sees us, and who is greater and more powerful than any situation we may face. We hope that the GDOP devotional series and the GDOP event will bring encouragement to you in whatever situation you may be facing. Rich materials will bepublished starting on September 27 (40 days prior to the event). Use these days to prepare your heart and soul leading up to the GDOP.
This year the GDOP meeting will be November 6, 2020 at 6:30am Houston time and will be taking place on Zoom rather than Skype. You’ll find additional details when you register for the event by following the steps below:
Type goto/EventX into your browser on your work laptop
Select “Explore” in the top right
Search using “GDOP 2020” and ensure that you are searching in the month of November.
If you are accessing this via Company computer, here’s the EventX link.
We would love to see more participation than ever before.
This year we are also introducing a Spotify playlist built to include music that brings hope. You can find the playlist by searching “GDOP 2020” on Spotify.
We look forward to praying with you.
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:4-5
GDOP is a special event where ExxonMobil Brothers and Sisters across the globe gather together to pray. GDOP has been a yearly event for over 10 years at ExxonMobil! The event is organized by ExxonMobil employees on their personal time and is not an official company event.
Therefore, when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
There may be no more powerful words in all of scripture than these three words uttered by Jesus. A single word in Greek (tetelestai), the expression was actually quite common. Pastor and popular Christian author, Warren Wiersbe, notes, “The word tetelestai is unfamiliar to us, but it was used by various people in everyday life… a servant would use it when reporting [a completed work assignment] to his or her master… when an artist completed a picture, or a writer a manuscript, he or she might say [it].”1 Dr. Edwin Blum, former Professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, highlights the legal/clerical uses of the word, stating, “Papyri receipts for taxes have been recovered with the word tetelestai written across them, meaning ‘paid in full.’”2 When Jesus said this common phrase it took on extraordinary meaning. He had paid our debt in full. Through faith in Jesus, our accounts have been reconciled for good. This is the basis for our hope, the basis for our salvation.
However, at the time Jesus exclaimed this important phrase there was little rejoicing. Those who had believed Jesus was the Messiah had expected Him to rise to a kingly prominence, overthrowing Roman oppression and restoring Israel. They had high expectations of Jesus and in His death, their world came tumbling down. If this man who could command the wind and the sea, who could heal the sick, and who could feed thousands could be crucified by the Romans, what did that mean for His followers? Hope was seemingly lost, and most of the Disciples went into hiding. It was Friday, but Sunday was coming…
On Sunday morning, everything changed. Their disappointment in lost expectations, their fear of what the future holds, their confused sense of personal identity, all were erased with a second phrase of three words: “He has risen” (Mt 28:6, Lk 24:6, Mk 16:6). Hope was restored and even in the face of trouble, that hope drove the disciples to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
This Easter season there are many (both believers and non-believers) who are facing lost expectations, fear of the future, and confusion. The days seem dark and hopes are dwindling. Hold onto the hope of the finished work of Jesus. Hold onto the hope that even though the outcome of this trial is uncertain, our position and identity in Jesus is certain.
During this time let’s continue to Be The Church to each other, encouraging one another in love and being there to support each other. We have a list of virtual resources that you can consider to keep connected in community with other believers during this time of social distancing. Many churches are offering Good Friday and Easter Sunday services online so that we can still gather together even when we are apart. Furthermore, please let us know how we can pray for you, how we can help you, or if you just need someone to talk to. Finally, let’s show love to those who may not know Jesus, and are losing hope during this difficult time.
We are here for you and we love you. He is Risen!
The CCEM Team
1 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 384.
2 Edwin A. Blum, “John,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 340.
“and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
As we continue to battle COVID-19, we know that now more than ever how important it is to Be The Church to each other. We need to continue to maintain smart social distancing as a way to love our neighbors, family and friends, as well as a way to continue battling this disease. Fortunately, today’s technology allows us to continue meeting together, while not being physically together.
The CCEM Team wants to provide some virtual resources for you as opportunities to continue meeting together in a safe, socially distant way while at home.
CCEM Bible Studies/Prayer Groups – Many of our Bible Study and Prayer Groups continue to meet virtually through various platforms. If interested, please contact one of our study leads to get the latest virtual meeting information. (Visit Bible Studies/Prayer Groups Page)
Alpha has also moved to a weekly prayer call during our time off campus. To get connected with the Alpha prayer call, please contact Garrett Shaw or goto/Alpha.
Local Churches – Many local churches are currently broadcasting their sermons live on Sundays, as well as hosting small groups and ministry events virtually during the week. Check our Churches list for links to various local churches that members of our community are connected with. Visit church websites for opportunities to connect virtually.
Grace Center of Spiritual Development – GCSD is a local organization that offers Bible Studies, Leadership Training, Devotionals, and Podcasts for free. GCSD is promoting a new 2 week live virtual study on Habakkuk starting next Wednesday, April 8th at lunch (information here); as well as a 3 week virtual Biblical Leadership Seminar Series Starting Tuesday March 31, 6:30 – 8:30 pm (information here). View previous GCSD content and more at Grace Center of Spiritual Development Website
Toolbox Lunch – Toolbox Lunches are having a virtual meeting on April 1 with their Executive Director. Learn more about the event here and more about Toolbox Lunches from their website http://www.toolboxlunches.com/
Christians in Commerce – CIC is an organization focused on bringing Christ into the workplace. The have a library of stories of how individuals have reflected Christ at work. Visit their Christ Alive! Testimonies Webpage.
Pope Francis’s Urbi et Orbi: Pope Francis delivers an extraordinary blessing “To the City and to the World” on Friday to pray for an end to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. In his meditation, the Pope reflects on Jesus’ words to His disciples: “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” See more here.
Over a decade ago, a few ExxonMobil (EM) employees from Asia gathered at the Prayer Mountains in Seoul to pray for God to raise a community of believers at EM who can bring about significant changes for His glory. This was the birth of Global Day of Prayer (GDOP), an annual event where EM Christian communities in 40+ sites, 20+ countries gather virtually to pray in unison. Join us again for 2019 GDOP! Date: 10/25/2019 Time: 6:30 – 8:00 AM (Central Standard Time) Location at EMHC: E3.1B.306/326/276 Add the event to your calendar If you are unable to attend in person and would like the skype link, please email Aria Sawicki (email@example.com). View your site’s GDOP Site Contact
If you enjoyed the previous articles about the Bloom Church, check out the inspiring video below produced by Faithbridge Church to learn more about how God planted some of our brothers and sisters in Korea to start a blooming church within their expat community.
Bloom Where You Are Planted from Faithbridge on Vimeo.
Moving to Ulsan, Korea was not our first time overseas. When moving to a new country half way around the world, it is understood that life will be different than “back home”. For us Texans, we knew upfront that TexMex food would be hard to come by and that the Dallas Cowboys’ game wouldn’t be on T.V! But in expat life, you tend to make the best of any situation. So while life is certainly different as an expat, the best of life from “back home” can still be had… it just takes a bit more effort and perhaps a little compromise. Watching American football online at 4 o’clock in the morning isn’t so bad!
But what about church life? Over our previous three overseas assignments, we noticed that church life seems to be an area where expats – myself included – quickly give up because the local offering isn’t the exact same as “back home”. Lots of energy is expended to find inventive and creative ways to replicate most everything else we miss from home (AppleTV + VPN = Netflix), but folks don’t put that same level of effort into linking-in with a group of Christians. Looking back over those assignments, my family had so much fun and made lifelong friends – but there is some regret. My growth as a Christian suffered during that time because I didn’t put in the effort or make the small compromises to meaningfully participate in a church. I resolved to do differently for this assignment.
My wife (Meredith), my two kids, and I arrived in Ulsan in February 2012. Within a few months, we had made friends with two other families who felt similarly and agreed to meet each Sunday morning for a worship service. The beginning was modest – we simply huddled around a laptop and streamed a sermon while the kids watched Veggie Tales in another room. But that modest worship service seemed to scratch an itch, because we soon found more and more families that wanted to participate. Thus was born “Bloom Where You Are Planted”, or “Bloom Church” as we often call it. We now average more than 50 adults and children that meet for worship each Sunday at the HFC Clubhouse representing a range of Christian denominations and nationalities. Three Sunday School classes are held for the children according to age group while the adults meet separately. Throughout the week, there are two Men’s and two Women’s Bible Studies and the C.O.O.L. Club (Children of our Lord) meets on Wednesday directly after school. Bloom also sponsors regular fellowship BBQ’s, camping trips, and nights-out. The whole operation is organized by volunteers. It has been a true blessing to watch God take a little effort and multiply the results.
The motto of “bloom where you are planted” is particularly well-suited for expats. We have all been “planted” here in Ulsan for one reason or another. But will we “bloom”? From a Christian perspective, that requires regular and intentional association with other Christians for worship, strengthening, and accountability. It is hard – if not impossible – to go at it alone. Bloom Church is a great setting for fellowship with other believers and we would love to have you join us. But Bloom Church is nothing fancy and – yes – it will undoubtedly be different from your home church. There is a disco ball in our worship place for goodness sake! The service includes the basics such as praise songs, the Apostle’s Creed, a sermon, and we always close with the Lord’s Prayer. Yet, there is no pastor (sermon is streamed), pulpit, pews, hymnals, choir, stained glass windows or other accoutrements you may normally expect. It all comes back to effort and compromise. Participating in a church here won’t be exactly the same as back home. And you’ll likely have to compromise on some liturgical preferences. But the risk is too high if you sit out of the game and the reward is so great if you join in! Whether it is Bloom or another local church, if you are a Christian – find that place where you can bloom.
Location: Ulsan, South Korea
Description: Contemporary worship service organized by expats. Format generally follows the protestant tradition: music, sermon, prayer. Sermon is streamed and projected to large screen
Bloom is an example of the Christian community making a conscious decision, coming together to worship using whatever means the Lord has provided. This particular effort was spearheaded by an ExxonMobil employee in 2012 (Graham Caver) but has a wide array of expats from other companies and backgrounds that are active in leadership and fellowship. The format is “low maintenance” but extremely effective providing a place to worship and fellowship together while on international expatriate assignment.