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A Cancer Leads to a College

John C. Kim, Ph.D.

It was March 9, 2004. The diagnosis came in – a rare spinal lymphoma. A large cancerous tumor in my back was pressing hard on my spinal cord. No wonder my oncologist informed me and my wife that I had one of the most painful cancers you could ever imagine. In the midst of the lumbar punctures and the chemo and the side effects it wrought, I felt – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually – as dark as the night sky on many sleepless nights. And yet God was there right beside me.

In my helplessness and pain, I could hear him whispering to my heart, “I know the pain of what you’re going through. Do you realize how much pain I had to bear when I did not spare my own precious Son, but gave Him up for you to save you from eternal death to eternal life? But I did that because I love you. And you, who are a sinful parent, would you not hold your sick, feverish child tightly to your bosom and pray that you would rather suffer in your child’s stead? See! How much more I, Your Father in heaven, is holding You tightly to me and praying and weeping along with you.” I can honestly say that I was able to know God and His love more intimately in 2004 that in all my previous years combined as a believer. I tasted and seen and felt His deep and true and abiding love, more so than at any other time in my life. I needed cancer. I needed cancer because I needed more of Him.

When sleep was hard to come by, I would find myself repenting and reading -- and receiving revelations from God. Confessing of those ways, especially in leading JAMA and its ministries, when I depended on myself and my own agenda and not Him and His plans. Repenting of the resulting pride and bitterness. And reading. Voraciously reading the Scriptures and books by John Piper, Os Guinness, C.S. Lewis, Jonathan Edwards, D. Martin Lloyd Jones, and Brennan Manning, and the accounts of historical revival movements around the world, and the lives of our Founding Fathers. In these times, pain would temporarily take a back seat as I was deeply

immersed in prayer and page-turning.

On one such sleepless night, God spoke to me. He asked me, from out of nowhere, to establish a college to train up young men and women to be godly global leaders by integrating major fields of study with sound faith to transform America and the nations for the glory of His Son, Jesus Christ. I was apoplectic.

“Lord, are you kidding me? A college? Do you see what I’m going through? I can’t do anything at the moment, much less lead the ministries under my present care, and I’m in constant pain. You must have the wrong person.”

“You are not going to do it. I am going to do, John.”

“But do we really need another college? Many of them, Lord, especially Christian ones, are closing down.”

“Have you been able to do anything all these years apart from me? Not one thing. I have done it all. You need to trust me on this one. Trust me!”

By the work and power of the Holy Spirit, and continual, sweet communion with the Lord, that trust came. At the seemingly lowest point of my life, when I felt like I was walking through the valley of the shadow of death, when sleep was hard to come by and physical pain came in buckets, I resolved to obey the only One who can do all things.

It’s in those moments when we profess our inadequacies and our inabilities and our powerlessness to do anything -- anything! -- apart from Him, that God sometimes asks us to do crazy things so that when He brings them about, He gets all the credit. He gets all the glory. He gets to be seen as who He is. As God, the Father Almighty. It is in our weakness, that He is strong -- and glorified as such.

On the nights that followed, God would continue to speak with me regarding His will and His desires, particularly when it came to raising the next generations of global leaders. I would still tremble at the thought of doing anything -- whether it be a summer program or a college -- along these lines. And then, as if to make me even more intimidated than I already was, He impressed upon me that He wanted this college to be for only 200 students.

“200 students?! That’s it?! How can a college be financially sustained with only 200 students? It’s unheard of. That’s just not going to work.” Again, I was rebuked by the Lord in forgetting that He was going to bring it about, not me. That He would sustain it, not me. That He would provide for it, not me. And what He also impressed upon me was the idea that the college would be small for a reason -- that it would be an institution to selectively and specifically train up students to be globally-minded servant-leaders, statesmen and stateswomen, to be Christ-like, Spirit-filled Navy Seals, Top Guns, and Special Forces.

“But why now, Lord?”

God revealed to me that there was a critical 30 to 40 year window for something like this because of globalization. According to Dr. Os Guinness, globalization is the expansion of human connectedness on a global scale where communication technology is instantaneous, spontaneous, and ubiquitous. The forces which have accelerated globalization are science and technology, market economy, trade and investment, education, religion, culture, international organizations, environmental concerns, human rights, freedom and democracy, migration and immigration – all of which, for the most part, are being led by secularists and humanists. This is the the time for believers to make inroads and become the forefront of these now “Roman-dominated” roads.

This is where the college would come into play. And time is of the essence. For the past 60-plus years, America, as churches within its borders have abandoned God’s Word and as it has reaped what the 1960’s has sowed, has transformed into a country of spiritual, moral, social, cultural, political, and educational bankruptcy. Over these years, the movers and shakers and leading thinkers and technologists and teachers of the day were trained at colleges and universities that were -- and continue to be -- the bastion of progressive liberalism through its agents birthed from the 60’s -- professors. Indoctrinated students taught by these professors have multiplied exponentially and are now the dominant force in every facet of our society, culture, and public educational system, thereby extending their reach and breeding more and more of the same.

Meanwhile, over the same time period, the Church in America has lost its way and its influence. We have been enticed and seduced by the world and its values (of materialism, comfort, consumerism, and relativism) in much the same way as our secularist neighbors. In other words, Christians are no longer counter-cultural and thus, they are no longer relevant. They are no longer salt. They are no longer light. We are not slouching, but in a rapid free fall to the Christianity we see in Europe -- and almost nonexistent and quaint “religion” -- with almost a resigned fatalistic indifference to the “way things just are,” much less a sense of urgency to formulate and develop strategic kingdom plans to counter the depravity and idolatry that has become all too familiar and mainstream.

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures:

Repentance and intercessory prayer. God’s people, who are called by His name, need to repent with a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17). We need to seek His face with fervent prayers -- individually and corporately -- and turn from our wicked ways (2 Chron. 7:14). Even now, especially now, we need to return to Him rendering our hearts in fasting, mourning, and prayer (Joel 2:12-13) and desperately interceding for our families, churches, cities, communities, states, and this nation (Jeremiah 29:7). We need to pray for revival and awakening. We need to be on our knees pleading that God will, as He has done in the past, pour out His Holy Spirit on this land and bring about another great awakening.

Education and the Lindale Kingdom College (LKC). We need churches to create and offer schools with faith-based curriculums for our children as an alternative to the public school system. We need colleges dedicating to developing and sending out wave after wave after wave of Christ-like, Spirit-filled, Gospel-centered global leaders, statesmen and stateswomen to fill the moral-and-servant-leadership vacuum of the next 30 to 40 years. We need colleges to raise up and train a new generation of spiritual special forces to begin and carry out the work of countering the enemy and the evil forces of our time.


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