Wednesday, January 31, 2007


My home phone rang last night at 2:30 in the morning. I wasn't able to get to it in time, thus sending my mind spinning. Then, about 5 minutes later it rang again. Mind going nuts, I rushed to pick up the phone wondering what could be wrong. With Melissa and Izzy travelling yesterday, you can imagine my state of mind.

When I finally picked up I was greeted by a Cantonese speaker. I repeatedly asked if they spoke any English (usually they'll speak a little) but got nothing but more Canto. Another woman came on and did more of the same. At this point, I hung up confident that whatever was going on really didn't involve me.

Who calls anyone at 2:30 in the morning if it's not an emergency? Further, when the answering machine comes on in English, why call back if you already know you won't be able to communicate?

As far as I know, my family is just fine. That didn't ease my mind at all through the evening and obviously, sleep wasn't easy to come by after that. To fill the time, I watched the Matrix.

The moral of the story: Phones ring. It just not might be for you.


Thursday, January 25, 2007


Alanis Morrisette (sp?) had some wisdom, don't ya think? Life is a little ironic.
Last Friday began our 4 week study on listening to God. Here's the outline:

Week 1: Posture--Are we really seeking to hear God? Both Moses and Elijah ended up at the Mount of God (Horeb), but do we find time to seek Him?

Week 2: Silence--Why is being still so hard?

Week 3: Patience--Maybe we don't need the answer right now? How sovereign do we believe God really is?

Week 4: Obey--What if we have such a hard time listening to God because we're afraid of what He might say?

As I've been prepping for this week, I've been studying what guys like Thomas Merton, Thomas A Kempis, Tozer, and newer guys like Tony Jones, Mark Yaconelli and Richard Foster have to say about the subject. It's been great. I've been convicted of my own lack of spiritual discipline, my personal noise that pushes the voice of God to the side and my unwillingness to be a man of few words.

Throughout the week I have set aside some specific times to prayerfully prepare for Friday and more importantly just be with God. Yet in each of these times I let myself get distracted almost to a point beyond recovery.

Take today for instance. I headed over to Pacific Coffee Company, put on some quiet background music to drown everything out and sat there reading and reflecting. It started so well. Then thoughts of what "had" to be done began creeping in. Then it was lots of thought of inadequacy, fear, and doubt about all sorts of things. It got to the point where the response became very physical, I simply couldn't sit there. I had to get up and move. I had to DO something.

To come face to face with my own frailty is painful. I have three weeks to myself. Melissa and Isabella are back in the states visiting family. I miss them terribly but also looked forward to the chance to just be alone in solitude with God. Instead, more of the same, busy brain that I experienced this morning.

I won't be giving up. In fact, tonight, I'm making some adjustments to make sure I'm available to the importance of just simply being with God.

I'm embarrassed at how difficult this endeavor has been. In this embarrassment is the truth that it's been far too long since I truly communed with God consistently. I've spent time with Him but have avoided that silence that draws me into His presence. Why?

"It is often when we're swallowed up in God that we find our true selves."
Tony Jones in The Sacred Way, 42

I'm afraid of my true self. I'll have to deal with hard things, with those insecurities, with my activity of doing so much that I avoid being who God has called me to be.

May this time of solitude be a painful awakening, drawing nearer to God in the quietness of my soul resting in Him.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The week

It's been too long since I've posted. I've had lots of thoughts and things I needed to think through in written form but just haven't done it. So here's a recap of the week:

1. Melissa and Isabella left very early this morning for the states. They'll be gone just over three weeks and I'm already lonely.
2. I finished "The Cost of Discipleship" last week. Easily one of the three best (non Bible) books I've ever read. Deep, slow going at times but thoroughly convicting and challenging.
3. Shaved almost an hour off our 20km hike/run time. I doubt that will happen again but it was good. Now I just have to get two 10km runs in during the week.
4. Started a series with our youth on Listening to God. I'm really excited about this because of all I'm learning as I prepare for it. The first night went well. This week, our attention is on silence.
5. One of our students that's really been struggling has just blown me away lately. The guy is deep. I love watching him explore God and ask questions along the journey. I'm so proud of him.

It was a long and very good week. This week will be different. More reading, more exercise and more silence.


Sunday, January 14, 2007


Training began yesterday for the Trailwalker. It didn't so much begin and explode with a flurry of physical exertion that's been foreign to my lazy body for far too long.
The highlights:
1. The Trailwalker is an annual race that covers 100km (about 62 miles) in as little time as possible. Our leader says our goal is 20 hours.
2. Hong Kong hiking trails are paved at least 80% of the time in some way, shape, or form. This is much less agreeable on the body than good ol' terra firma.
3. After a good bit of climbing, we came to a flatter section and decided to run. Yeah, run, because somewhere that seemed like a good idea.
4. It was only 2 hours in that we were informed the "hike" would cover about 20km. But, not to worry, we'll increase the dstance gradually over the next couple of months.
5. It was hard but I loved it. I haven't spent enough time outdoors.
6. We'll do it again next week and I can't wait.


Friday, January 05, 2007


We continued our study of Ecclesiastes tonight at (R)evolve focusing on the issue of weight. After having everyone weigh themselves on a scale, I asked our students to write and then discuss what weighs them down in life and why?
As we talked about why we thought Solomon might have felt so depressed (see 1:8-9, 2:9-10 specifically), the depth of thought coming out of the mouths of these teenagers was well beyond their years.
As we listened to the Crowder song "Wholly Yours" the question was posed of what we life be like if we could lift our eyes beyond ourselves and lose all that weight that we carry. As I watched our kids wrestle with and respond to this I realized how much of me I've been carrying. I was leading a discussion on being free and eternally minded yet here I am coming face to face with my own frailty.
I'm glad that it was with our students that this hit me. We're on this journey together and I love that I can lead students but also be honest with them and let them know I struggle too. Somehow, I hope that brings the message to life just a little more.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007


I just finished reading Elie Wiesel's Night
I wish books like this didn't need to be written.
I wish I knew what a proper response to a work like this would be.
I don't think there is a "proper" response.
I pray that we won't forget.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007


W.H.Auden says it well: I want to approach the future as a friend, without a wardrobe of excuses.

I live life making a lot of excuses for things both within and outside of my control. Why? I think it’s because I try so hard to control my surroundings. One of my myriad personal challenges is my compulsive desire to be over prepared. Whenever planning is involved, I go crazy trying to think through every possible outcome, problem, lull, and scenario that may present itself.

This isn't always a bad trait to possess. It’s been a help in many situations. When it gets in the way of allowing life to happen according to God’s will is when it becomes a negative factor in life. Having all my ducks in a row isn't as necessary as I keep acting like it is.

May 2007 be a year that I approach the future and God’s will without my lenses of prognostication and simply follow where He leads.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Progression II

The progression planned for our lock-in didn't go at all as planned. Looking back over the evening and morning I'm both saddened that I didn't have things a little better structured and pleased that I didn't resort to too much structure.
While I was really excited to think through some of the raw emotion of Ecclesiastes, I know that time will come, later.
I feel like I'm continually having to learn that my best laid plans, if relied too heavily upon, only get in the way of divine plans. Sure enough, the evening provided a few of those moments. They weren't structured and they certainly weren't planned. Hopefully, their significance will reach far beyond any lesson I wasn't able to share that night.
The longer I do this, the more I am coming to grips with how little I know and how desperately I need the help of the Holy Spirit every step of the way.

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