What the U.S. Election reveals to this Chinese-Canadian Pastor…

9 11 2016

politics

Although I am a Chinese-Canadian Christian in Toronto, this year’s U.S. Election has blown up all of my social media feeds with opinions, frustrations, diplomatic concessions and Christian articles.

Do I have anything to contribute that hasn’t already been said?  Probably not, but here goes nothing.

In this google/wikipedia/internet generation, for all the information we have and for all the opinions that are out there, it reveals to me that the academics and “bourgeoisie” still haven’t figured it all out to a science.  There are still too many issues to engage with, too many ideological stances to unearth and just too much mudslinging in the public square.

Yes, Trump’s election has shown me that many people (majority) are still fearful of change, but it doesn’t mean we should be crucifying people because they can’t “change their perspectives”…  In short, what the liberals/progressives don’t always realize is that they are forceful for change just as conservatives/fundamentalists are forceful for staying put.

This has also shown me that on the larger scale… Asians, minorities, etc are still not believing that their voices are actually being heard in the “public square” so why bother engaging?  So is the answer to educate more people to sway the public opinion?  I kind of doubt it…  there are analysts and evangelists for both parties who are mighty adept at spinning things well.

The lesson I’ve learned from this election is that unless there are more spaces to be opened up for real dialogue and an attempt for “real presence” from people of different perspectives from a posture of humility and collaboration…  this vicious cycle will continue… forever.

Hence as a follower of Christ, my trust can never be given over to the governmental establishments (even the Canadian government) of this world, but in the Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus proclaimed.  Of course I will engage civically but I will start with being present in my neighbourhood community.  My first devotion is to the King who modeled a true politic (a way of life) by serving and even dying for others.  He is sovereign and reigning, and the church, His people, are supposed to be an extension of His presence in this world.  We are to be an embodied witness to a divided world.  Jesus said we are the peace-makers, sons and daughters of God… or so we should be.

On the day after election day, what do I think has been revealed?  We were never in control to begin with.  But Jesus is Lord.  I think real change will only come through a slow, patient and faithful presence and through loving people with the true humanity that Jesus died and rose again for us to become.  I want to see people invited into that kind of reality.  Onward with the mission.

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Not with eloquent words? then with what?

27 07 2010

1 Corinthians 2:1-5

1When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. 4My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

Dear church,
How are we doing in the living out the Spirit of God in our everyday life? It is such a powerful reminder from Paul that we are not the ones with the authority nor power in which to move mountains. Not with eloquent and persuasive words nor by their own human wisdom are people winning over others to Christ. I wonder if we have fallen short of this and have taken our human sources the crux of the gospel. I wonder if it is because of our own understanding that our churches are driven and moved? I wonder if the programs are that which we are driving with because we think it works? Or I wonder if we are just attracting people but not really allowing God to move into people’s lives?
If it isn’t about eloquent words nor persuasive wisdom then what is it about? It is about the Spirit no? The movement by whom even the first church that has been established relied upon. So how are we doing Church? Are we living and having Church through and by the Spirit today or are we using the beauty of our own culture and lavished it with our own abilities?

May it be so that we are Church because the Spirit of God is working in and through us.





Mah-lah-chee!

16 04 2010

Very true words today… especially in light of a lot of ppl’s understanding of worship.  I don’t mean this just in a judgmental way, but our understanding of worship to God is a lot of times like this passage.

I hear more and more that worship is about the “Heart” and that God judges the heart and etc.  This is very true, but most of the times, it is a very reductionist view.  This passage makes me GLAD and affirmed that Christ was my advocate on the cross, is my advocate now presently and will be in the future!

My worship, my ministry, etc is tainted and I know it.  My sin is revealed to me in different ways in my life each day and I’m so glad I rely on Jesus.  As Tim Keller said, “All of Life is Repentance” and I see that as part of my worship.  That Christ is the foundation and intercessor of my worship and life-living to God.  I want to be the man beside Christ at Calvary who declared Him as the Savior, not the sarcastic one on the other side.

It is just like with our salvation, we put our faith in Christ.  There is a conscious need to live life (as worship) in reliance on Him who set me free and still doing that today through His Spirit.

No more reliance on things that will pass away, but on the gospel that brings life!  I think that is BIG part of what is acceptable offering to God.





On Malachi 1

30 03 2010

6 “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” says the LORD Almighty. “It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name. “But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name?’ 7 “You place defiled food on my altar. “But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you?’ “By saying that the LORD’s table is contemptible. 8 When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the LORD Almighty. 9 “Now implore God to be gracious to us. With such offerings from your hands, will he accept you?”-says the LORD Almighty. 10 “Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the LORD Almighty, “and I will accept no offering from your hands. 11 My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations,” says the LORD Almighty. 12 “But you profane it by saying of the Lord’s table, ‘It is defiled,’ and of its food, ‘It is contemptible.’ 13 And you say, ‘What a burden!’ and you sniff at it contemptuously,” says the LORD Almighty. “When you bring injured, crippled or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?” says the LORD. 14 “Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the LORD Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations.

Is this not true prophetic words of today?





Fresh on the outside, dead on inside…

6 03 2010

Haven’t posted in a while, but haven’t forgotten 😉

I guess I agree with this sentiment.  I find at times we are so event-driven because that is how we operate in the Chinese church, we need to focus more on making God the object of our affection!

Now, don’t get me wrong.  We need to put in our biggest effort.  I’ve been thinking about this for a long time but we need to go “all out” for God.  Whether it is in creating an event that has some attractional value or whatnot; or even in our knowledge of God, whether that’s apologetics or theology so we can communicate clearly and contextually to others in relationship; or even in just loving people, going above and beyond to show love AND grace to others.  Mind you, not for the sake of our WORKS, but works as the completion (maturity) of our FAITH (i.e. James, Romans)

SO… the tough part… is trying your hardest… and like Francis says, it’s not about the “people who led”, but about GOD HIMSELF.

I’ve always thought that we need more prayer WITH action in our churches but the tough part has been to not boast in what we do, but ONLY IN GOD and what HE did through Jesus.

I hope this ramble sounds a bit like building our church on the GOSPEL 😉





1 Kings 18 – descriptions of churches today?

22 02 2010

I was reading The Forgotten God by Francis Chan and came across this short portion that he wrote on his reflection on 1 Kings 18; pg. 143-144

Sometimes I leave Christian events wondering if we resemble the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18 more than Elijah, the prophet of God… The prophets of Baal had a loud, passionate worship gathering that lasted from morning till evening. When they were done, they had a great time of fellowship (I tihnk you can call it that). But “no one answered; no one paid attention” (18:29). After all of that, Elijah prayed. God heard his prayer, and fire came down from heaven.
My favorite part of the story comes when it is all over and the prophets of Baal are saying, “The Lord – he is God! The Lord – he is God!” (18:39 NIV). They didn’t say, “Elijah is a great speaker” or “Elijah sure knows how to connect with God!” They were stunned by God. They were in awe of His power. They knew that what they experienced could not have been manipulated by Elijah. They experience the power of God.
Is that what happens at the Christian gatherings you attend? Or does it feel more like what the prophets of Baal experienced before Elijah prayed? We can have a great time singing and dancing ourselves into a frenzy. But at the end of it, fire doesn’t come from heaven. People leave talking about the people who led rather than the power of God.

Such prophetic commentary on the churches today? I wonder if our churches are like this? Fresh on the outside but dead on the inside? What would it look like if our churches begin to be moved and filled by the Spirit?





Currently reading—

17 02 2010

I figure I too shall share a little bit of what I am reading and what I am hoping to read through the next few months…

The Forgotten God – Francis Chan (I have heard a lot about Franic Chan and got his new book on the HS – has been an interesting read; will read Crazy love when it is returned to me)

All for Jesus – Robert L. Niklau, John S. Sawin and Samuel J. Stoesz  (figure I should get a head start on the ordination readings)

Vintage Church – Mark Driscoll (more on my fascination on ecclesiology)

Youth Culture 101 – Walt Mueller (resource book for my process in restructuring youth ministry)

College 101 – Church Bomar (another resource book for restructuring)

Deep Church – Jim Belchers (I am re-reading this book becuase I want to take some notes this time around; last time was such a quick read through didn’t have enough time to process)

I think these are most of my bedside readings…
There are a few more that are laying around but I don’t know if I have time to read through – but I’ll keep posted in how I am doing with these readings.