Saturday, December 30, 2006


The focus of our three sessions during this year's lock in is the book of Ecclesiastes. As the primary goal of our lock in is community and spiritual development, our goal during these times is to wrestle, together, with what Solomon was wrestling with and see what conclusions God will open up to us.

Session One: Weighing In--is everything really meaningless?
(Ecclesiastes 1:8-9, 2:8)
What perspectives do we have on life, do we convey to others and what weight do these perspectives place on our lives?

Session Two: Mirrors
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Life is a series of seasons--we seem to think the one we’re in is all that matters but what if we were able to take a more eternal outlook on life?

Session Three: Eyes Wide Open
Ecclesiastes 5:1
Can we hear God? Are we even trying to? What kind of life could we lead if we listened more and spoke less?

May God use these times to draw us together, toward Him.

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Boxing Day

Tuesday was a great family day. What better way to celebrate the birth of Christ as a family than by visiting a major Hong Kong landmark, the big buddha?
It was a beautiful and at times surreal place to be.
It was a dark and depressing place to be.
It was a place of great modernity resting in the hands of ancient tradition.
It was a place that made me feel great sorrow.
It was a place that gave me hope for the mission set before us.

Starbucks and Buddha.
something just doesn't feel right

80 Percent

A couple of days ago, a pretty major earthquake hit southern Taiwan, killing a few people and injuring many more. This was especially hard for this part of the world to take as two years ago to the day, on Boxing Day, the Tsunami left southern Asia decimated.
Thankfully this natural disaster was much smaller in scope. Still, people suffered great loss. For this, I am saddened.
I am more saddened at what I have learned of myself during this time. The earthquake knocked out over 80% of telecommunications in Taiwan and a significant amount in all of southern Asia, including Hong Kong. What that really means: Hong Kong had no internet access for 48 hours.
I'm embarrassed to state that my mind was much more consumed with the devastation of not having the world wide web than it was filled with compassion for those that are suffering greatly around us.
Obviously the internet is back, southern Asia has full contact with the rest of the world. I just hope it hasn't come at a price of forgetting about those who need help, prayer, compassion and mercy.

Monday, December 25, 2006

"Heaven came down and glory filled my soul!"

That just about says it, don't you think?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Tuesday mornings might be my favorite personal time of the week. I have a twelve minute walk to the ferry, another ten minutes of quiet on the ferry and then usually a few more minutes of solitude once I arrive at PCC. This morning was especially sweet.
I was waiting for a friend and was able to spend a few moments reflecting on AW Tozer's Insight for Leaders. I can't say that today's reading was especially encouraging. It was however, very real. I need real.
Tozer talked about our propensity to try to make earth our heaven, attempting to enjoy that which is eternal now. He adds that we are all spiritual idealists, trying to make this world into some type of spiritual utopia. Of this I am guilty.
Instead of taking on the posture of perservering through troubles I find myself asking why do I have to go through these things or what I did to deserve this? These are both the wrong questions. The right question is how can I press on without drawing attention to myself?
During this season of waiting (Advent), it would be so much greater to lift up my eyes to the heavens than to dwell on the things of this world, of what I do or don't have, what else has to be done, what's coming up, or why things are hard. If I am waiting expectantly for the return of my Priest and King, I'm able to walk through each season of life with a redemptive tone; one that's able to be shaped and formed in every situation.

Tozer states it like this:

"What then are we to do about our problems? We must learn to live with them until such time as God delivers us from them. If we cannot remove them, then we must pray for grace to endure them without murmuring. Problems patiently endured will work for our spiritual perfecting. They harm us only when we resist them or endure them unwillingly." Of God and Men, pp. 121-122

"Lord, I'm so homesick for heaven. But until You allow me to come home, I do indeed 'pray for grace to endure [problems] without murmuring.' Amen."

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


I've given into the addiction.
After much fighting to join the "cult", I caved.
It's been painfully frustrating at times.
I'm no good but Isabella loves to watch.
I don't allow myself to indulge during work time.
It's hard to stop once I've started.
Melissa has fallen victim as well.
She's already better than me.

Linerider is taking over the world.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


The following is from the front page of our Christmas Newsletter to Parents.

The season of Christmas brings a mixed bag of emotions. It’s a wonderful time of year to celebrate together, as families. It’s nice to get a couple of days of from work. It’s a time full of stress, extra running around, and of course, last minute shopping. For some, it’s also a reminder of painful memories or missing someone you love. Whatever emotions fill you this year, my prayer is that one will remain central: hope.
The birth of Jesus Christ changed the meaning of that four letter word forever. No longer would our God be unapproachable. Love would be forever reinvented in a manner that this world will never fully grasp. The world we now call home has become not only a small part of our eternal lives, but that place we express the love of Christ to others in tangible ways. It’s the place where we pass on the hope that Christ has given us.
This season, I pray that we will, together, love in such a way that our world sees a glimpse of the hope that we have in Christ Jesus!


Saturday, December 09, 2006

Just heart

Continued thoughts about justice.

Last night went pretty well, though I'm not sure how well it all came together at the end. Lots of questions about pain, fairness and what we deserver came up.

My next thought is, if we are to live as Christ, taking care of the least of these, why do we struggle with it so much. It's the easiest thing in the world to say we should do. And we love talking about social justice and all that needs done. In fact, people seem to get energized behind a cause, for a time.

That's the problem, it seems like we embrace a life of serving the destitute, hurting, unlovely, etc., those that need some love, for a time then move back into our daily lives. I'm horribly guilty of this.

I haven't come to many conclusions save it has become a personal problem. Here's what I mean. Groups, when motivated and energized, seem to do a good job of furthering whatever cause they might be behind. Think about it, Republicans, Democrats, Greenpeace, The World Wildlife Fund, The One Campaign, (Red), etc. These are causes that people get behind, often very strongly. And they are often entered into because of that group. We gravitate toward those that we share like passions with and join them in their journey.

It seems to be more difficult to just go out, find a hurting neighbor and help them. That doesn't fit into a time when we can all gather and fix the problem. It doesn't necessarily help our social status and it certainly isn't very visible. All of which are significant reasons to DO exactly what is hard. Because whether seen or not, people need each other to go out of their way to help; even if they go it alone.

As I continue to work through this with our students, I'll keep posting. I think this is a venture that will shape my soul and the souls of my youth in mighty ways.

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Friday, December 08, 2006


Tonight, our youth group begins a series on the theme of justice. It's been on my mind and in my heart to do something along these lines since Cbass brought up the idea about a year ago. He'd been reading a book on the subject and made some very stirring and convicting comments about how easy it is to look the other way.

Our first look at justice is through the eyes of pain, specifically the thoughts of David in Psalm 119. I have no intent of giving many answers tonight; I'd much rather pose a lot of questions about ourselves and our world.

As we progress through the series, we will broaden the scope of our "frames" a little more each week. Tonight, pain and justice in our lives. Why are we, like I said in a previous post, more concerned with fairness than love? Deep down, do we think people really do get what they deserve? Why?

This will be a heavy night for us I'm sure. That's okay. Justice or lack thereof is heavy. Maybe that's why I'm so afraid to really dig into it.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Bound Freedom

Pastor Ed led our staff devotional yesterday, choosing to think through 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. His insights have stayed with me all day, night, and this morning. First, the text:

19Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. 22To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings

I've always loved this passage and taken great solace in its inspiration. Sadly, as Pastor Ed shared his heart, it became clear that I have missed the mark. He brought up how easy it is to focus on the freedom and individuality of our faith, especially in today's world, that we skip over verse 19. Not intentionally, but in our entire thought processes, and for some, our theology. Paul comments on his slavery to everyone, a practice that I haven't lived out.

When Paul states that he's a slave to everyone, he's doing so by choice, meaning he's a bondservant to those of this world. That's big. By way of example in life and deed, he's demonstrating that while yes, freedom in Christ is amazing, it's gotta come in the midst of bondage, exactly what I fight so hard against. You see, I like my rights, and I like fairness, neither of which fit within the bounds of loving others as myself, or being a slave to others.

Being a slave, or bondservant does not mean that I'm to be a doormat. It's much more exciting than that. It means that whether I like it or not, I'm going to temper my freedoms within the framework of the most effective ways to love and serve others. And that's the rub. I like others, and I really do like serving them. But it's usually done in ways that are most comfortable, easiest and most convenient, FOR ME.

Freedom through bondage. Pretty big stuff.


Sorry for the silence. Internet was down in our flat, mysteriously, leaving us a bit cut off from the world outside of HK. All is good now, so i'll be posting again, wahoo!