Friday, April 28, 2006

Something Fun for Your Friday

I think this is a great example of "The K.I.S.S. Leadership Principle" = Keep It Simple Stupid. And it's also a great contrast between Apple and Microsoft. Simplify, simplify, simplify ... I think that's the message our generation needs to hear ...

And I'm in the middle of reading the book below ... a few interesting observations ... a lot of stating the obvious ... while some of it has made my eyes roll big time (as in "give me a break!"). My impression so far ... it's just ok - not as "groundbreaking" as advertised IMHO.

Currently Reading
Growing Healthy Asian American Churches
Ministry Insights from Groundbreaking Congregations
Editors: Peter Cha, S. Steve Kang, and Helen Lee

Thursday, April 27, 2006

A Family Post

This one goes out to my parents. They recently came back from a trip to Washington D.C. Both my parents love taking photos so they wanted to see the rows of cherry blossom trees that were blooming. The last time I was in DC was when I was in elementary school ... I'll have to visit again, since I don't remember much from it! And the last photo in the slideshow is of my sister and her new dog.

As you can tell, is my newest blog-toy to play with. I came across it while reading djchuang's website. He has some pretty cool discussions going on at the moment about Asian American churches. Check it out.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Why I'm On Sabbatical ...

My Quest ...

In my continual search for godly mentors, it has been through classic books that I have found men of God to meet with, learn from and follow after. I thank God for 'older' mentors such as Edwards, Calvin, Spurgeon, Murray and Bounds ... and for contemporary mentors such as Packer, Piper, Peterson, and Willard.

Their ministry through writing has brought strength in times of weakness and brought hope in days of darkness. Even through simple pages in a book, I have been challenged and sharpened, convicted and encouraged.

And in reflecting upon my current sabbatical, I was strengthened by the words of Charles H. Spurgeon from his "Lectures to My Students." This book is basically the notes/lectures he gave his students who were preparing for ministry (many, many years ago). Before talking about "doing" ministry, he begins with this principle for the Christian life:

Whatever it takes, protect your inner self ...

"It will be in vain for me to stock my library, or organize societies, or project schemes, if I neglect the culture of myself; for [these things] are remotely the instruments of my holy calling; my own spirit, soul and body are my nearest [tools] for sacred service."

The thing to protect, nurture and cultivate more than anything else is a heart that is still before God and growing in His love.

... for you are God's tool to use ...

"My spiritual facilities and my inner life are weapons of war ... Remember, you are God's sword, His instrument - I trust, a chosen vessel unto Him to bear His name ... it is not great talents God blesses so much as likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is [a powerful] weapon in the hands of God."

If I am God's tool, then I must take good care of that tool ... and the best way to care for that tool, is to care for the tool's inner soul. My application of this principle has been to take this sabbatical so that my inner man is restored. For a muscle in constant use does not grow stronger, but weaker. But after vigorous use, it is torn and weakened, then it is during a time of rest that the muscle grows stronger.

Thank You ... God.

"God, thank you that I could work hard for you these past 10 years ... and thank you that during that time, I was torn. Thank you that in being torn, I am weak ... and that during this time of rest, you are making me strong."

Currently Reading
Lectures to My Students
By Charles Spurgeon
see related

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Thailand 2006 Pix

The original Thailand slideshow has been moved to here.

Currently Listening
Carried Me: The Worship Project
By Jeremy Camp
Empty Me

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Da Vinci Code Resources

Da Vinci Code Resources

Since I won't be doing my Da Vinci Code sermon series anymore (due to my sabbatical), I thought I'd offer up some resources that will help those who have questions from the book and the upcoming movie (next month). I've created a page that has resources to help both the believer and the skeptic ... you can click here or visit the link in my "Inklings" section on the right.

I think it's going to be a great opportunity to share the true Gospel with friends as well as strengthen our own faith when this movie comes out and the questions arise ... after all, the movie posters in Sydney all say "Seek the Truth" ... and that's what we want to do =)

Thanks NLW for the Video

And I want to say thanks to Kevin and the New Life team that put together that video for my last Sunday. I was truly touched and *almost* got emotional. Kevin compressed the video and sent the file to me recently and wanted to post it up. You can click on the image above to watch it online or you can click here and download it to you computer. I think I've watched it like 50 times already ... bringing back some great memories of my time at New Life. Miss you guys! =*)

ps. Pictures from Thailand should be up in a day or two. =)

Currently Reading
Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ
By Dallas Willard
see related

Monday, April 17, 2006

Back From Thailand

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Hyun and I just got back from Thailand ... safe, sound, round (me!) and tired! But I'm glad Hyun could finally see what a beautiful country Thailand is and how wonderful the people can be (and how good the food is!!!!). I learned a lot through this trip and am slowly relaxing again ... there's a ton of things I'm going to have to process through, esp. through my time at Newsong. And I'll post more pictures soon ... after I hibernate for awhile =)

Currently Listening
All That You Can't Leave Behind
By U2
Beautiful Day

Thursday, April 13, 2006

From Thailand

Hey everyone. I can't upload pictures with the hotel computer here, so I'll have to do that another time. But just wanted to give a brief update before heading off to lunch (yum!) =) BTW, I love the authentic food here ... and you can't beat the price!

Dave is Cool ...

I'm having a great time so far hanging out with Dave and the Newsong staff here in Bangkok. First off, Dave is a really cool guy ... I've learned a ton from him in these few short days and I've also been inspired in so many ways concerning ministry and church planting. Newsong has some exciting things in the works all over the world and it was cool just to get a glimpse of it.

Restoration ...

We also shared a lot of common experiences concering doing EM stuff within a Korean Church setting ... and whole concept of not pouring new wine into old wineskins made more and more sense. Through these talks I was so happy to gain more confirmation from God that this sabbatical year is going to be a special one. I believe this year is going to be a year of restoration for me in ways I can't even image right now ...

Life's More Fun ...

In community ...

This is another lesson God's been trying to teach me over and over again. And hopefully this year, I'll let it sink in more. I think I have to learn how to relax more ... and enjoy the ride, not just accomplishing goals. And enjoying the ride is a whole lot more fun when you're with people you love. Speaking of which, I can't wait till Hyun arrives later today ... then it's off to Phuket and practicing the lesson I just wrote about! ENJOYING LIFE! =)

Happy New Year (Again and again and again) ...

And on a final note, today is the Thai New Year and they celebrate it by soaking everyone with water wherever you go! It's not too bad considering it's also the hottest day of the year for Thailand as well. So I'm off to lunch ... with my phone, wallet and camera in sealed plastic bags! I love Thailand. =)

Take care everyone and may you enjoy the life and gifts God has given you today! =)

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Sunday, Sunday ...

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Sundays ...

Hyun and I have been "church hopping" for the past several weeks and I must say it's been difficult to find a church to call home. And what's becoming even more sad is that I'm beginning to understand why most Australians don't attend church on Sundays. For those out there who have a heart for church-planting, this is a country in *desperate* need of a lot of good church plants. And I don't just mean for the Asian communities ... I mean for every community.

I wanted this year's sabbatical to be a break for me from pastoral ministry ... but after each passing Sunday, my heart is beginning to hunger more for a solid place to worship and be fed. But alas, my heart is also in major need of rest and restoration ...

Crossing Borders Australia ...

And just to update on our first CB meeting for Australia last Thursday night ... it was GREAT!! A lot of passion and excitement in the hearts of everyone who will be pioneering with us, so I left the meeting very pumped for this coming year. We have a great group of staff members who I believe will be used by God to do some amazing things for the Kingdom of God. Please keep praying for CB Australia!

Thailand Tomorrow! =)

I'll be leaving for Thailand tomorrow to meet up with Dave Gibbons, who is the leading church planting pastor for the Asian American Church. He's the founder of Newsong Church in Orange County and most recently he and his family moved to Bangkok to start up a church over there.

We'll be meeting up to talk about church planting issues, missions, Thailand, etc. I'd appreciate it if you could pray for our time together, that God would lead and guide our talks and our relationship so we can both be sharpened in those few days together. After that, Hyun will fly out to Thailand and we'll have a few days to explore one of my favorite countries to be in.

Have a great Passion Week everyone!

Currently Listening
Rattle and Hum
By U2
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A New Beginning ...

Just a reminder that Crossing Borders Australia will officially begin tonight! There will be an introductory meeting Thursday night (April 6) at my place (47/1-55 West Pde, West Ryde). If you're interested and you haven't RSVP'd yet, you're still invited to come tonight to check out what will be involved. If you have any questions, feel free to call me at 0414-992-206.

It's an exciting time to be a part of God's mission through the launching of a new mission agency here in Australia. So if you want to be a part of history-in-the-making and have a pioneering spirit within you, then Crossing Borders Australia might be for you. I've been praying for this kind of opportunity for many years ... for God to allow me to be a part of mobilizing many more people for missions and to impact the nations as a result ... and I believe this is part of God's answer to that prayer.

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Sabbatical ... Kinda ...

Sabbatical? ... Yes and no ...

Well after coming back to Australia from a brief break in the US and Korea, I definately feel I need to take a break this year ... at least from what I've been doing before. Mike and I have both been realizing that we need to learn how to "relax" and not always be in "intense" mode all the time in our lives.

A book that we're both reading right now [The Power of Full Engagement] has been a great guide for us to learn how to do this. It looks at a new paradigm of handling time and energy ... here's a sample:

Old Paradigm // New Paradigm
Manage time // Manage energy
Life is a marathon // Life is a series of sprints
Downtime is wasted time // Downtime is productive time
Rewards fuel performance // Purpose fuels performance
Self-discipline rules // Rituals rule
Power in positive thinking // Power in full engagement

Learning how to have a day (and times throughout the day) to fully "detach" from my usual work will benefit more in the long-term strength and energy for my work. But I think these concepts are for only certain personality types. If you naturally "take breaks" most of the week, then you might need to read a different kind of book =P ... I think this is definately a must-read for workaholics/intense/goal-oriented people though.

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Anyways ... though I have begun a sabbatical from pastoral ministry, I'll be helping start up Crossing Borders (an N K mission agency) for Australia. For those who have expressed interest in helping pioneer this new branch into Australia, we'll be having an introductory meeting at my place on Thursday night. I would love your prayer support for this new exciting pioneering work in seeking to bring hope and restoration for the people of N. Korea.

Another prayer request would be for wisdom, strength and insight in a writing project I'm helping out with. President Kim's wife of Handong University has asked me to re-write and edit the English version of her biography book that was a best-seller in Korea for Christian books. It's a pretty huge project so I'm going to need some major prayer support in this process. The book has been used to touch thousands of people already, and they hope the English version will help bring this amazing testimony to a wider audience ... so there's a bit of pressure there, but I'm not stressing too much over it (so far).

It's been great having Mike here too these past couple of weeks ... we've been doing through similar ups and downs last year but we're slowing getting back on our feet ... and one thing I know for sure is that I'm going to need a lot of restored energy before getting back into pastoral ministry ... thus my sabbatical.

So there's a bit of a 'formal' update on what's going on with me and my pseudo-sabbatical. =)

Currently Reading
The Power of Full Engagement : Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal
By Jim Loehr, Tony Schwartz

Monday, April 03, 2006

Can You Find ...

... the various bands represented in the picture below?

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... the former New Lifer who went to Melbourne and became a worship leader?!?!?

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... where this was taken?

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... God's message for you?

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Currently Listening
By U2

Saturday, April 01, 2006