Over two years ago on November 3, 2012, we heard about Kenneth Bae’s arrest in North Korea.
Over a year ago on August 10, 2013, we held a special prayer vigil for Kenneth Bae and his family.
Sunday, November 16, 2014 • 6:54 pm 3
Saturday, November 8, 2014 • 11:21 am 11
I’m sitting in front of my computer and I’m crying. And I can’t stop.
There’s a tidal wave of emotions. As a follower of Jesus, I’m ecstatic over Kenneth Bae’s release from jail. Many will know that he was detained in North Korea not because he was trying to topple its government but because of his faith in Christ and his love for the people of North Korea. And while many question the wisdom of going to a country like North Korea, I know that following Christ will sometimes lead us to places that might be irrational to many – even to the Church.
As a pastor, I’m overwhelmed with joy for Terri and Andy Chung, and their two daughters. Terri is Kenneth’s younger sister and their family worships at the church I lead, Quest Church. Having had numerous meetings with Terri’s mother, Myunghee, I can’t imagine how she must be feeling right now. For goodness sake, her love and devotion to her son led her to visit him in North Korea about a year ago. Just last Sunday, our church spent time hearing from Terri and praying for their family. It was emotional as we pondered his two years in captivity. Kenneth was in captivity for a total of 735 days…and tonight, they will be reunited.
And as I genuinely rejoice…
I’m reminded of what remains: a people under a brutal regime. Approximately 24.5 million people.
Read the rest of this entry »
Monday, November 3, 2014 • 7:50 pm 2
This is a deeply personal post and I hope you’ll take a moment to read it and share the video above. While I have never met Kenneth Bae personally, his sister and family attend the church I lead, Quest Church. He is an American citizen. He is also a son, a father, a husband, a brother…and also a follower of Christ. I do not know him personally but I consider him a brother-in-Christ. Yes, he is a missionary although he was not directly doing ‘missions’ work in North Korea but he was captured on November 3, 2012.
If you do the quick math, today marks 2 years. That’s 730 days. And every day adds another day to what is already the longest detainment of an American citizen in North Korea. Read the rest of this entry »
Friday, October 31, 2014 • 9:29 am 9
It’s hard to believe but it’s true. Time doesn’t stop for anyone. While I think I still kinda sorta wanna look young, I’m reminded how old I’m getting when I see my children. Today, my eldest child celebrates her 16th birthday.
Jubilee also has a very powerful Scriptural meaning. It’s referenced in the Book of Leviticus where it is to “occur every fiftieth year, in which slaves and prisoners would be freed, debts would be forgiven and the mercies of God would be particularly manifest.” We pray that our daughter lives into both of these meanings.
It’s been particularly hard because joy has often become the biggest challenge for her. It would not be appropriate for me to broadcast her life story because it’s not for me to tell and I know that when she’s ready, she’ll share her story with the rest of the world…and it’ll be raw, painful, honest, and beautiful. Read the rest of this entry »
Saturday, October 18, 2014 • 7:01 pm 0
Dear Friends, Supporters, Blog Readers, Critics, and Stalkers:
So, it’s that time of the year. It’s my birthday on October 20 and I’m turning… [pause for dramatic effect] … 44 years old.
Gulp. Double 4s.
And for my birthday, I’d love to mail you a personalized signed copy of my book, Overrated: Are We More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World than Actually Changing the World.
In lieu of cards, flowers, iPhone 6+, drinks, or whatever…I’d like to ask you to consider making a small donation to my birthday campaign to help support the work of One Day’s Wages.
ODW recently celebrated its 5th anniversary and during this time, we’ve raised nearly $2.35 million dollars to come alongside those living in extreme poverty through carefully vetted organizations. AND we invest 100% (minus any credit card fees) of those donations for projects. We don’t take a single penny and raise our administrative fund separately. Read the rest of this entry »
Sunday, August 31, 2014 • 6:32 pm 4
Dear friends, supporter, and folks that have prayed and encouraged me over the years:
First, thank you for your love, prayers, and support. Sincerely.
This is the big week/month I get to share my first book, Overrated: Are We More in Love With the Idea of Changing the World than Actually Changing the World? with the world. (The official launch date is Monday, September 1.)
I’m excited, nervous, humbled, and everything in between. In many ways, it feels like that hour immediately after you’ve preached your guts and heart out…and you feel very vulnerable to everything. You want to just go to a corner, hide, and think about all the ways you should have said certain things differently. This is how I feel. I wish I could have changed this and that in the book. There are times I wish I never clicked that “send” button on my computer.
On the other hand, I’m humbled and really excited about this book. I’m humbled because all one can do is to be faithful to the opportunities that God places before you…and that’s it. I rest in this. Truthfully, I’m also excited because I believe in this book. I know that authors are supposed to say that about their own books but this book flows deeply out of my own heart as my personal confession. This book is about Justice, Discipleship and ultimately, about following Jesus. But I’ve learned, at times painfully, that it’s not just about us doing justice, this journey is also about allowing the work of justice to change us. Our calling is not simply to change the world but perhaps as important…is to be changed ourselves.
So, here’s my humble ask: If I’ve been of any encouragement to you in your faith and life journey, would you consider helping me get the word out on this book. Here’s three ways you can help:
This week and if you’re able, throughout September, please help spread the word about this book – especially through social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter. If you can, please link http://areyouoverrated.com and use the hashtag #OverratedBook. You can find assets and graphics to help promote the book here. Read the rest of this entry »
Saturday, August 23, 2014 • 6:50 pm 16
Unless you’ve been living in absolute isolation, there’s been much in the news – here, there, and everywhere - including the violence and protests in Ferguson. But in the midst of much shouting, screaming, finger pointing, tweeting, and ‘Don’t Shoot’ hand raising…we also need to engage in practical solutions. It would be tragic if it simply resulted in lots of noise…and it doesn’t compel us (as individuals and church communities) to examine our own lives, our blind spots, and our commitment to live into our calling as ministers of reconciliation.
So, I thought I’d share one practical way we can – not just love the idea of reconciliation but actually be agents of reconciliation. Reconciliation has many nuances and aspects but I’m convinced of this:
Reconciliation isn’t pretty or sentimental. It’s messy but it begins with first acknowledging that something is broken. We’re broken y’all.
In other words, if we want to seek the peace and shalom of the city…we have to engage the conflicts and injustices of our cities. Read the rest of this entry »
Saturday, August 16, 2014 • 11:46 am 70
I have so much emotions and thoughts in my mind, heart, and body – in light of the oh-so-much that is going on all around the world – including the utterly tragic, brutal, and unnecessary “death” of Michael Brown.
But I thought it would be helpful to share a few thoughts how churches, Christians, and leaders can be engaging the events of this past week in their respective churches – not just for this weekend but for the future. I’m not suggesting that pastors have to completely alter their sermons but to altogether ignore the injustice of Michael Brown’s death would be altogether foolish.
To be blunt and I say this respectfully,
The integrity of the church is at stake because when it’s all said and done, it’s not a race issue for me, it’s a Gospel issue. It’s a Kingdom issue. We shouldn’t even let isolated issues in themselves hijack the purpose of the church. The Gospel of Christ is so extraordinary that it begins to inform (and we pray, transform) all aspects of our lives. So, in other words, we talk about race and racism because we believe in the Gospel
So, here are five suggestions for Christians, leaders, and churches:
Silence, it itself, is a statement.
In some cases, it may be a powerful expression of wisdom but this is not that case. To say nothing, to pray nothing…is to communicate that it’s not a big deal. To say nothing, to pray nothing…is to tell your congregants – especially your black congregants and others of color, “C’mon. You’re taking this too seriously. Suck it up. Let’s just worship Jesus. It’s all about Jesus.”
Read the rest of this entry »
Thursday, August 14, 2014 • 12:05 am 6
There are many beautiful aspects of our larger culture … and then they are broken things. There are also things that are incredibly encouraging and of course, disconcerting.
One of my concerns in our larger culture – including the Church:
d e p t h .
In my first book - Overrated: Are We More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World than Actually Changing the World? (set to release on September 1 but available for pre-order now), there’s a chapter entitled, “Have More Depth than 140 Characters.”
I am the first to tell you that I don’t know everything about everything. But when it comes to my core pursuits, my passions, the issues that inspire me and drive me to serve, I try to learn as much as I can.
Over the past few years, I have met many people who are not only interested in serving the world in various ways but who are engaged in their convictions and passions. But I am often surprised to find out that they do not know the basic history and background of their chosen interest.
I remember one time in particular, at a conference, when a woman came up to me and told me she was very grateful and appreciative of a talk I had just given. We chitchatted, and eventually I asked her what she did as her vocation.
She said she worked at an NGO, serving the poor in Central America. We were having a polite conversation. She asked for advice, and I tried my best to encourage her in our short conversation. As I shared one of my favorite quotes from Óscar Romero, I asked her if she had read much of his works or about him.
“Aspire not to have more but to be more.” - Óscar Romero
She had this blank look on her face.
“No, I haven’t met him yet, but I’d love to. Can you connect me? How can I contact him?” Read the rest of this entry »
Monday, August 11, 2014 • 11:50 pm 7
It feels awkward and even a bit inappropriate to be talking about ‘celebrity news’ when so much is going on around the world: Iraq, refugees in Syria, children stranded at borders, Michael Brown’s death and Ferguson, Ebola, Ukraine, and the list tragically goes on.
But then again, it feels appropriate because it’s another reminder of the fragility of our humanity.
By now, most of you know that Robin Williams past away today (August 11). His life ended way too short at the young age of 63 – apparently because of suicide. While this was news to me, Robin had been struggling with intense depression – especially as of late.
To be honest, I don’t get caught up too much on celebrity happenings mainly because there’s not much genuine connection. I don’t really know them personally. Make sense? Robin Williams’ death – on the other hand – just felt like a painful punch in the gut. Perhaps, it’s because Mork and Mindy (Nano Nano) was the first TV show I watched (along with Buck Rodgers) after immigrating to the United States. I deeply resonated with Mork – this ‘alien’ or ‘foreigner’ from another land trying to fit in. Read the rest of this entry »