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Pray for the people of North Korea. Lord, may your light shine forth.

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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.
Continue reading “Pray for the people of North Korea. Lord, may your light shine forth.”

Two years. 730 days and counting. It’s time to release Kenneth Bae. #BringBaeBack

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. Continue reading “Two years. 730 days and counting. It’s time to release Kenneth Bae. #BringBaeBack”

When your daughter’s name means “Joy of God” and yet, joy becomes the biggest challenge. #HappyBirthdayJubilee

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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.

Her name is Jubilee and her name means the “Joy of God.”

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. Continue reading “When your daughter’s name means “Joy of God” and yet, joy becomes the biggest challenge. #HappyBirthdayJubilee”

Thanks for your prayers and support. This is the week I share #OverratedBook with the world.

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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:

SPREAD THE WORD

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. Continue reading “Thanks for your prayers and support. This is the week I share #OverratedBook with the world.”

If we want to seek the peace of the city…we have to engage the conflicts and injustices of our city.

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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. Continue reading “If we want to seek the peace of the city…we have to engage the conflicts and injustices of our city.”