Saturday, October 8, 2011

on the move

so i've been journaling on evernote for the past couple of months haha. lots of prayers and pouring out of my heart to God. lots of struggles and doubts. lots of hurts and wants. lots of crying out for God to move. and he's been moving. =] right now, i'm part of a church plant in fountain valley and he is moving. this sunday is going to be our fourth week and God has been blessing the fellowship. he's bringing people who don't know Christ, who used to come to church, and Christ followers who want to be a part of something bigger. God's been blessing the tuesday night community group. we're focusing on the scriptures and learning about what God has in store for us rather than me trying to figure out what we have in store for each other haha.

God's been maturing my faith in loving people who don't know the Gospel. i've been listening to an amazing artist named baths. he is super talented and really gifted in making beautiful electronic music. i've been listening to him non-stop in my car and on my laptop. thuy even got me tickets to see him in december! but recently i found out something about him that kind of turned me off to his music. it was something that has turned me off to people in general when i find it out about them. and in general and short, it was sin. and i was like, "man, i shouldn't be listening to this guy's music anymore." and God convicted me. i didn't want to listen to him because of this thing. but i'm able to listen to countless other artists who are in the same boat as baths. what should make this guy's sin any different from other artists'? more than that, what should make this guy's sin any different from my own?? we're all on the same side. the human side. the side that messes up and ends up being far from God. in the end, baths is just like a lot of other artists that i love. in need of Jesus. they need to meet Jesus. they need to learn about how much God loves them and cares about them. how he wants them to come home. how much God is chasing after them.

these past couple of months have been of tremendous growth for me. just growing up in faith and in life, which are kind of intertwined haha. but learning that i can't have the same kind of life that i had when i was a teenager. so free from responsibilities and dreaming about the future. i'm living in that future now! i'm set to graduate this coming spring and get a job and start saving money to get married, to grow up. it's been sad but good haha. sad knowing that i'm leaving an amazing chapter or section of the short book of my life and turning the page onto a new, exciting chapter. =]

i've been praying for a lot of professors and classmates at school. if you didn't know already, csuf is a pretty secular school and especially so in the sciences. at least for psychology, anyway. there's lots of opposition and kind of a stand-offish attitude when christianity or religion in general is brought up. and this has been huge in building up my faith. learning that i shouldn't be surprised by the persecution. learning that people will be turned off to the Gospel, some will be open to it, but there will be people that just don't like the message or like me because of it. been beefing up apologetics and prayer! praying for God to soften and open up hearts. praying that i could be a disarming person in being able to engage them about faith and life. and just have real, authentic, non-threatening conversation about Jesus. =]

i've also been learning to keep my eyes on Jesus. seems redundant to say. seems repetitive to say. but a constant reminder that i need in my life. especially when school, work, friends, ministry, distractions come along. it's hard to keep Jesus at the center when i've got so many things that are piling up on my plate! learning again to look to Jesus first before looking at all the problems or just things to do in general. for example, i have a research paper due this coming thursday. usually, i would look at it and dread. knowing the amount of time i'm going to have to spend cooped up in a library working on this thing, worrying about whether it will be good or not, complaining that the information isn't even going to be used by me, writing and re-writing pages, etc. but if i look at Jesus first. well, it becomes a different story! i look at Jesus and i see my purpose on this earth. and particularly, right now in college. i want to help people. these are just some of the things that i have to go through to get there. it becomes necessary on my road to helping people to know about Jesus Christ! it becomes something that i'm not really "glad" to do, but know that the result doesn't end there. in the form of a 5-6 page paper that's due for my learning and memory class. it's an investment in a life that blesses others in my work and life. that blesses the people i come in contact with at the office, friends that i'm able to bless with an income, family who i'm able to take care of, and those who i don't even know that i'm able to bless because i finish this paper. =]

the verse that i've been fixating on lately is from colossians 2, verses 6 and 7. "and now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness." i've just been learning to remember that it's not through works, through ritualistic prayers, through just feeling sorry for myself that i get salvation. i'm coming back to the 19-year-old me. coming back to the basics. that everything that i do is a response to Jesus. i overflow with thankfulness. and that thankfulness comes in the form of loving people in my speech, my thoughts, my actions. but i've been focusing so much on the "overflow" that i forget about what i need to do first! i need to let my roots grow down into him, Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior! i need to let my life be built on him! not on actions. not on ideals! i need to be connected to the true vine, the giver of life, the savior of the world. i need to be connected to Jesus! and the thankfulness comes naturally out of that.

it comes back to the basis of the Christian faith. we don't do things because it's required of us. we do things as a natural overflow of our love for Jesus. we do things because it's God's heart in us. because we see what he sees. because we're connected with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we do things differently. we live differently. we have hope differently. we have joy differently. we die differently. we die to ourselves. because we're made alive in Christ, who sacrificed his life for us on the cross. who rose from the dead and by this action, lets us know that God is here and he is on the move and is coming back again. in the meantime, we want to let people know about this good news. Jesus died, rose, ascended, and is coming back. God loves us and wants us. and even though not everyone will want to receive it, just like we learn about a great new mediterranean restaurant, just like we see an amazing movie, just like when we just got hired for a new job, just like when we're head over heels in love, we want to let the world know. =]

Sunday, May 15, 2011

free love

dang. been a while. where to start? God's been doing so much these past two months. so much has happened and i don't know if i can write it all out i'll try to recap everything i can remember. here goes. =]

well, in the beginning of march, we all went to this hillsong concert but i felt dry. i felt like i couldn't "feel" God, and if i didn't feel God, there must be something wrong with me or God isn't really there, you know? next morning, i hit a huge spiritual low and i was super lost. i ended up hiking at irvine regional park, which, by the way, is a beautiful place. =] i hiked around for about 5 hours, listening to the new hillsong album and marveling at creation and remembering that God made all of that and then spent all this time on me and cares about me more than all of the trees, birds, lakes, mountains, etc. i found a little tree where i sat under and i started reading the gospel of mark. i finally got to the part where Jesus was in the garden before He was about to get turned in by Judas and He was asking His disciples to just stay awake with Him as He was praying to the Father. all He needed was for His friends to stay awake with Him because He was in so much pain and anguish because He knew what was going to happen to Him in the next couple of hours. that was the part that got me.

Jesus knew what was coming soon. He knew the torture and the pain that He was going to endure. He was asking God if there was something else He could do, some other way. but there wasn't. but did Jesus run away? no. did He change His mind? no. He chose His Father's will over His. He loved the Father. and He loved us. He marched right up to the soldiers that were searching for Him and turned Himself in. when He was given chances to free Himself and say He was anyone other than who He said He was, He spoke boldly that He was the Son of God. even before pilate, Jesus stood His ground and told the governor that he had no power over Him other what God had given him. willfully, sacrificially, lovingly, Jesus laid down His body to be beaten, tortured, spit on, trampled on, mocked at, so that we could be free from our sin. so that we could be free from what separates us from God. He did all of this for us. for me.

wow. what love. the cross had meaning to me again. not because of some music concert. not because of some church rally. not because of a really good sermon. it was because i was spending time with God, learning again about what Jesus for me that day. i was rejuvenated not by some act of man, but simply by reading His Word and spending time with Him. i found strength again. after hiking, a couple of us went to rock harbor to see john mark mcmillan. john was sharing about carbon ribs and what it was based on. the story of mephibosheth. king david loved his best friend, jonathan. so when jonathan died, david wanted to bless his family somehow. so he sent people to found any blood relatives of jonathan. and they found mephibosheth. the only thing was, mephibosheth was dropped as a child and consequently broke his legs. so he was a cripple. so he didn't understand what the king wanted to do with him. he said that he was nothing but a dead dog to him. he couldn't work, he couldn't be of any help. but still david invited him to eat at his table. john mark then shared about how he felt that he was a cripple because of something he had nothing to do with, but because of who his father was, he got to sit at the seat of honor, next to the king.

man. i'm born into this weary and broken world. and i've been broken and made weary by such a world. i had nothing to do with it. i couldn't have done anything. how could i have known? but because of who my father is. i get to sit at the seat of honor. i'm loved because my father is the Father. my father is the God of love, the God who chases, who redeems, who saves. i can't do anything for Him. He doesn't need my money, He doesn't need my services, He doesn't need my songs, He doesn't need anything that i have to offer. but He wants me. He calls me His own, His son. He freely calls me that. what a love that is. i've never experienced anything like it before. i don't think a lot of people do.

there's so much more, but i'll cap it off for now and i'll fill in more of the blanks soon. but just from this, i remember my mission again. to let people know that there is love that doesn't demand anything of them. yes, as Christ followers, God wants us to pick up our crosses, but He doesn't love us any less if we're struggling with it, if we get side tracked, if we take a super long time to figure it out. He loves us regardless!! He didn't die for the people who are willing to work for it. He died for the Christ followers and He died for those who don't even know Him yet! His love is free! We just need to accept it! what joy it is to know the comfort and peace of Jesus Christ! people need to know about Him!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

waste and hope

whew. i know i haven't blogged in a while but i've been busy! just finished reading 2 kings after starting in 1 samuel. and man, it's heartbreaking. king after king after king. failure after failure after failure. turning away from God time and again.

here's one thing that really stuck out to me today. as the babylonians were taking away the objects from the temple of God, the objects that were made with so much love and effort, i felt loss. i thought, "what a waste." these things that solomon put so much work into. these objects that adorned the Lord's temple and showed how amazing He was. simply knocked down and carried off to be used as trophies. i felt an attachment. there was a history to those pieces of the temple. and i can't help but think that this was a little bit of how God felt. pain and loss. after all the work put into His people to bless them and guide them, they ended up leaving Him and destroying themselves. only to be exiled. He loved His people. He wanted to bless them. all they had to do was keep themselves from idols. time and again He showed how faithful He was to them. only to have them adopt pagan gods.

it's like a bad relationship. you give and give and give only to have the other person cheat on you. and the other person keeps on coming back but continues to cheat again and again. you'd think that He would have given up on them. but no. He still chased after them. there's hope at the end of 2 kings. david's bloodline continues on. God had something planned.

you'd think that He would give up on us. but He didn't. He loved us. He was jealous for us. He chased after us. so much so that He sent His son to live on this earth and die a horrifying death so that we could be saved from His wrath and justice. it's amazing. but we still turn our backs on Him from time to time.

you'd think that He would give up on us! but He doesn't. He loves us. He's jealous for us. He chases after us. Jesus's blood covers everything that would disqualify us from being in relationship with God! His sacrifice washed all of that away! there is reason to rejoice! my God loves me beyond all understanding. there is hope in the name of Jesus! even after all of my wandering and turning away from God, Jesus's blood makes me white as snow and whole again! God is so good! people need to know this story. this love story is too good to pass up! =]

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


late friday night. saturday night. sunday night. monday afternoon. again and again, God's been confirming something and letting me know what's on His heart. sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice. not just of finances, but of my life. sacrifice of my preferences, my desires, my comfort. confirmed through a couple of people i know and then confirmed at rock harbor, i can't deny that this is something that God wants me to invest in.

it's a call to die to myself. i'm comfortable. like, really comfortable now. i enjoy who i hang out with. a lot. we share, we laugh, we bond and it's amazing. God's truly blessed it. but the scary thing about it, i fear that i'm hogging it to myself. and other people are left wanting. when i hang out, who do i always turn to and run to because i know that i'll have a good time? God's challenging me to step out of that. when i hang out, who do i need to ask so that they feel at home? who do i want to hang out with because i want to show them that i truly care about them. when i want to chill, who do i want to showcase God's love to??

when we do this, when we put aside our preferences and what we would like, we open the door to showcase Christ's love to the people in our lives. we let them know that even though we may not prefer eating at this certain place or do this certain thing, we're there not for ourselves. we're there for them. genuinely and truly just there for them. and that speaks volumes. to let them know that they don't have to do anything, they don't have to impress us, entertain us to earn our love and affection. we want to let them know that they are unconditionally loved just because. and they'll ask, "who does this??" and again, we answer, "Jesus." =]

Saturday, February 5, 2011

rebuke and growth

i thank God for a girlfriend who can call me out. and not in a, "i'm better than you, do what i say," whiplash sound, kind of way haha. i know that i'm not the best person at receiving constructive criticism let alone rebuke from my girlfriend so you can imagine how defensive i got and how much i justified my actions. i was sitting in the car for a while before i acknowledged anything she said! i know, it's terrible! but i really appreciate how she approached the situation and how she prayed about it beforehand. it made it a lot easier for me to accept the rebuke and pray over it. God broke down my heart and let me know that these were things that I needed to hear to make me a better man and a better leader.

i know i don't say it enough but i'm really proud of thuy and how she's grown over the past couple of years. i'm so blessed to have her in my life. she keeps me in check and she's learning how to do so full of love so that we don't get into arguments over things that we shouldn't! i praise for a relationship that is grounded and rooted in Him. i just keep praying that i can love her the same way Christ loves the church. the way He gave Himself for the church, i want to give myself away for thuy. He's the reason why i want to humble myself for her, why i don't get as t.o.'d when certain things happen, why i'm patient the way i am. and the same for her to me! i honestly don't think that we really could have gotten this far if it wasn't for God teaching how to die to ourselves and love each other the way we do. =]

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

satisfaction and contentment

this past sunday night we were talking about contentment at rock harbor. paul was sharing with the philippians how he was thankful and gave praise to God that they finally remembered and sent him money and supported him after 10 years of traveling. he wasn't angry or sad or sarcastic when he thanked them. he was genuinely thankful because his circumstance did not dictate his joy. he shared that he's been filled and he's been empty, wealthy and poor, and he had found the secret to being content in all things. his joy, his life, his heart was found not in people or this world, but simply in God. and that was enough for him.

it brings me back to psalm 23, one of my favorite verses. "the Lord is my shepherd, i shall not want." it's not saying that because God is my shepherd, i shouldn't want. it's not saying that because God is watching out for me, i should respond by trying not to want anything. it's simply saying that because my God loves me, takes care of me, watches over me, showers blessings on me (may not always be the ones that i necessarily feel are blessings =]), gives me hope, gives me belonging, gives me identity, i am content. i am not in need of anymore. because of my salvation, i have everything i need. everything else, all the little details, or big details, are secondary to that first thing. if i have Jesus, i'm set for not just life, but for eternity. what a profound statement, right??

and i know i've talked about this before but i feel like it's slowly creeping back into my mind that i don't have enough. i don't have enough respect. i don't have enough love. i don't have enough money. i don't have a good enough phone. i don't have a good enough car. i don't, i don't, i don't. but the thing is, i forget that i have everything i need in Jesus. if i lost everything, family, home, friends, i would still be set because i have Him. not saying that it wouldn't be painful that those things could be taken away. but my joy is something that is stronger than circumstance. that's what paul was trying to get at. no matter what the circumstance, rich or poor, peace or hostility, resting or weary, he had contentment, he had joy because God was with Him. my God is with me. and i don't need anything else. i shall not want. that's part of the good news that we want to share with people! a lot of us are so caught up in working for something more to find ourselves ultimately dissatisfied. and we keep digging and digging and working and working only to find that everything we invest in fades away in the end. without God, there is no contentment. we never satisfy ourselves. the world never satisfies.

only He can satisfy! contentment is knowing God! sometimes, it's just hard to explain. the peace and the calm in my heart that comes from knowing that He loves and saves. our God is good and worthy to be praised. i want people to be satisfied finally after searching for so long. He was here all along. He's still here waiting for us to find our satisfaction in Him.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


got to talk to a friend about God last night. there's something about talking about God that fills you with joy, you know? and sometimes, the only response after talking about how amazing, good, sacrificial, loving, merciful, gracious, giving, awesome He is simply worship. =]

the biggest thing about our talk last night was just about how the law brings awareness to sin. without the law, the moral code, we wouldn't really have a tangible standard we can measure our goodness by. something we can look at and see how close we are to being as holy as God is. the kicker is when we actually start looking at how we really compare to God and His holiness, we're way, way off. like, lightyears off. so off that the Bible even compares all of our good deeds as dirty rags, or to be graphic and illustrate the point dirty tampons, compared to God's glory and holiness!

i mean, we look at the ten commandments itself and we start failing at number one and it doesn't get much prettier after that! and it starts hitting us. if this is the standard that we have to live by to be saved, we're in a lot of trouble. i mean, this really sucks. how is anybody supposed to keep this up?? how is anybody able to really uphold this moral code, day in and day out, perfectly, without falter?? we're doomed, right? there's no possible way we can be saved now! it's over! done with! it's impossible!

enter Jesus. enter the perfect man. enter the sinless man. enter the saving God. into our sin, He broke out of heaven and crashed down into this weary place. in a desperate and hurting world, He began to live the perfect life so that one day, this life would then be put to death on a cross for our sake. spit on, rejected, beaten to a pulp, mutilated, humiliated, to take the punishment for our sins. where we couldn't uphold the law and were condemned to spend eternity separated from God, Jesus came in and sacrificed Himself so that we could be made righteous and blameless before the Holy God. this is the Gospel. this is the good news. we're not condemned anymore. we're not confined to our sin and our shameful condition. we're not bound down by the law but released by the blood of Jesus Christ. sin is no longer our burden because He's lifted it off of us with His scarred hands. thank goodness for Jesus. =]

i believe in Jesus and i follow Him not just because He loves me, not just because He gives me joy and peace, but ultimately because He saves me. He gives me salvation. He lets me in on eternity with God even though i've really done nothing to deserve it. even though i've failed miserably, He saved me. this shows that He loves me. this shows that He's merciful and full of grace. and because of my salvation, joy and peace are the fruits. i'm gentle and i'm kindhearted, i'm patient and faithful because He's saved me. this is my worship. the natural response to this kind of love is simply worship. =]

Friday, January 28, 2011

evidence and love

thank God for friendships that are stronger than pride and ego. i got in an argument with a friend last night. totally uncalled for on my part. it didn't need to turn out like that. when it was over i felt empty, like we didn't even get anywhere and our relationship was a little bit shaken because of it. it's not like either of us budged from where we stood before. we just became more entrenched in the view that we held so strongly. and the only thing that changed was the tension in the room, the heaviness of our hearts, and the burden on our shoulders, at least for mine anyway!

but thank God for something deeper than that. where other people would ignore it, move on, sweep it under the rug, we apologized to each other. thank goodness for a love that is bigger than ourselves. thank goodness that we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, transforming us, showing our hearts the right way to go. i'm so glad that we apologized to each other and we both humbled ourselves. we know that our relationship is more important than the argument. in itself, this situation, our relationship, glorifies God and showcases Jesus. =]

i've been reading a lot of apologetics lately. like, a lot haha. and i thought about something, about how atheists would tell me that i can't trust christian writing because it's biased. that makes total sense! that's a valid argument. but i have to propose to them as well how they can trust atheistic writing or agnostic writing because that in itself is biased and starts from a different point! we start from the God's word and they start from man's word! same thing with the history of the world. pre-believers will suggest that our world is millions of years old due to the sedimentary rock layers, it just makes sense! right? well, that's if you start from that point! if you start from the Bible, if you believe that there was a flood, it makes total sense that there would be those sedimentary rock layers there! ( ( keep in mind again that these are christian sources! the very sources that our atheistic friends say we shouldn't trust!!

it all depends on where you want to start! as a christian, i want to start from the Bible, because the world makes sense to me from there! as atheists, our friends will want to start from brilliant and out-of-the-box thinkers and that's fine! but as for us as christians, i want us to have solid ground to stand on when we explain to our friends why we believe what we believe! even if they don't understand sometimes, agree completely, or trust our sources (because it doesn't support what they believe and are entrenched in)! i want us to be sure that there is support for why we believe. we have good reasons, logically speaking, even if it doesn't match up with what they say! you don't have to be intellectually challenged to be a christian.

here's the point. no matter how much evidence and reasoning we provide for our faith, our atheist friends will want to refute it no matter how logical the argument may seem! because they're already sure of what they want to believe in and they'll find any way to have it line up with their belief system. we're the same way when they present things to us! therefore, evidence never really changes anyone's mind! we or they just try to come up with more research and reasons to support what we or they believe the next time we meet!

here's the kicker, we were never asked to bring people to God through evidence!! we bring people to God by showing God's love for them! by showcasing His patience, mercy, grace, and love in our selves to our friends. we overflow and overwhelm them in love that is illogical, stupid, out of this world, and purely nonsensical! that's how we win people over. not through war, blood, and the sword, but by the laying down of our own lives, our prides, and our statuses. and they're won over. God enters their brokenness, their hurt, their pain, their scars, their fear, through all the walls that they've built up around themselves. they let Him into their heart and surrender. they then start from the Bible. they then start from where God has come into their lives. the world makes more sense. much more than before. and i want them to have support for what they now believe. i want them to see the clues of God all throughout history. i want them to see how God has been waiting for them this entire time. =]

Thursday, January 27, 2011


i always get really sad when i see older folks. i was hanging out at thuy's house with her family last night and saw her grandparents. her grandma recently had a stroke and so the muscles in her face have been on the fritz. so she has one side of her face lifted up and the other side drooping down. she said that it happened instantly. that when she was eating a week ago and the rice started falling out of her mouth. she went into the restroom to see what was up and she saw her face in the state it is now. now if it was me, i would freak out. i wouldn't have any idea what was wrong. i would feel so helpless. not knowing what was going on with me. i would feel self-conscious. i would feel so scared.

and i thought to myself we're all going to be there someday. 60 years, 70 years down the line. i wondered to myself, would i be that old man who reminisced on these days. the days of my youth? the days of my passion? the days when the world was ready to be taken over? would i regret my life and what i spent doing with it? i get scared that one day i would go to sleep with this face i'm typing with now and wake up one morning to find gray hair and wrinkles. i would wake up to a body that's falling apart, suffering from arthritis, a weak back and knees. it made me really sad. it made me scared. i don't want to grow old. sometimes, i think i'm going to be young forever. flash, and i'm 30. flash again, i'm 50. flash, i'm on my deathbed.

we all get old. we all get weaker. we all age. we all fade. eventually, we leave this place.

but then i think about it again. and i have hope. that these weak bodies bound by gravity and oxygen aren't the end for us. as christians, we have a hope beyond these bodies. thank God there's more to look forward to beyond this life! this life is so short! there just isn't enough time!

isn't enough time to tell people about the hope of Jesus Christ! there isn't enough time to let people in on the master plan of the redemption of mankind! there isn't enough time to let people know that they are loved and longed for! that becomes my hope as well.

i don't want to be a complacent old man. i don't want to be that man who is sad and reminisces about his youth. i want to be filled with passion 70 years from now. i want to be filled with passion and a heart for the lost. i want to be filled with the Spirit still and let people know that they are loved. i will still have a purpose for living. i still want to be saving people for Jesus. my work is never done here on this earth. until Jesus comes back, my purpose in this life is to love as many people as i can, to tell them about Jesus, and to teach them how to do the same. =]

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


man, praise God! prayers that i've been praying for a while are being answered. i've been praying for two friends for a while and recently, God has been really tugging on their hearts. they're saying things that they've never said before, feeling like they've never felt before, acknowledging God in their lives like never before. i've prayed so hard and so long for these friends to really fall in love with God and become sold out for Him. i see an actual transformation in the way that they speak and share. it's so exciting!

we also got to pray over a friend last night. we had the opportunity to pray that he would be filled with courage and boldness in speaking truth in love to people and also making peace with another person.

we also went through amos last night with the worship team and it was powerful. we were drawing out so much more than i thought we would! it was really cool to get everyone's interpretations in about what God is saying to us through amos. here are some questions we left with:

do we bring idols into our worship? do we worship not only God? what is it that's sharing His throne in our lives?

do we think extra prayer will cover us? when we mess up, do we do extra good things because we think it will make up for what we've done? do we think religion saves us? do we see this in our church? do we see people doing good things because they believe it saves them?

are we willing to step out in faith and take on the role of amos? to speak truth in love? knowing full well that the raw truth is rarely popular?

is God trying to get our attention? is He throwing out signs that He wants us to come back to Him?

do we remember who He is in our lives? do we remember that He's the Lord? that He should be the one running our lives? do we remember that He's the Lord God of Heaven's Armies and could call down His angels any time He wants to but chooses not to? do we remember that He is the mighty God who wants to have a relationship with these people, with us? do we remember?

it was a really cool study last night. God was present. =]

i can't wait for this weekend for the team to share these stories with the congregation and lead them in worship out of vulnerability! God's moving!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

not afraid to love

just read the psalms and came across this verse:

"be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!"

that's from psalm 31, verse 24. for some reason, i winced when reading that. i had this feeling of failure. that i worry so much about what people think of me. i worry so much about rejection sometimes that i shy away from the Gospel. i hide the good news because i fear what people will brand me as. my heart doesn't take courage. i become a coward lots of times. i don't acknowledge the one i love. it's like not admitting i have a girlfriend when she's right there. that's how it feels! and in another sense, i'm unloving to the people i don't share the Gospel with!

then i thought to myself. "i'm doing this out of my own strength again!" i shouldn't be focusing so much on what people think of me! i shouldn't be so fixated on my weakness! but i should be holding onto His strength in me. His love in me! when i think about that, sharing about God becomes easy! it's not a chore or another task to do. it becomes about sharing life and love with someone else. it doesn't become a condescending sermon. but it becomes a conversation about what God is doing in my life, how He loves me, and how He wants to have a relationship with the other person as well! =]

my heart takes courage in the fact that He is with me always. it takes courage in the fact that i'm not sharing about a religion, but a relationship. i'm not sharing about a bunch of rules, but about a life of decisions motivated and driven by love. i'm not just sharing the Gospel. i'm sharing the story of love and redemption and restoration. i'm simply loving people when i do this. and i am not afraid to love. =]

the way

i'm so glad that we're not just about having fun. i hope people see that too. that being a christian isn't just about hanging out, eating late, laughing, having a good time, etc. but it's so much more.

it's a lifestyle. a calling. a mission. a purpose. it's the way we drive. the way we buy coffee. the way we pay rent. the way we study. the way we work. the way we talk. the way we give. the way we stop to talk and share life with someone on the street. the way we have compassion on those who deserve none. it's the way we share our darkest secrets and at the same time receive prayer, encouragement, and support after sharing them. it's the way we approach each other when we have beefs with one another. the way we put love and unity first before ourselves. the way myself turns into ourselves. it's the way our actions and words are motivated by abundant, overwhelming, and overflowing love that comes from God and not ourselves. it's the way we call upon His name when we're hurting. it's the way we know and feel comfort and safety because He's our rock, shield, and fortress. it's the way we suffer together, cry together, love together, pull through together, share life together. it's the way we that even if we have nothing common, we are brothers and sisters in Christ. all bought by the same blood. all bought by the same scars. all redeemed by one man. all loved by one man. it's the way we want our lives to scream out JESUS. Jesus is the reason we live. the reason we're here. the reason why we're the way we are. =]

these are just some of the things about the way we are that set us apart. this is what makes us salt and light of the world. this is what the church is. different. radical. out of the ordinary. this is God's people. this is the way of the christians. =]

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


thank God for identity. even if all this time, i was pretending to be someone else and i didn't know who the real "me" was anymore, i would know that God wants to change that person to be more like Him anyway. my identity. my name. my heart. my life. is found in Jesus. it's not what i've earned for myself. it's not the personality traits that i choose to portray to other people. it's Jesus living in me, transforming me, taking my hand and pulling me along, making me into someone that resembles Him. that's who i want to be. that's who i strive to be. so that when people look at me, they don't see me anymore, but they see Christ in me.

how do i know that it's Him that's transforming me and not my own will? well, in order for Him to make me more and more like Him, He makes me do a bunch of things i never want to do. going out of my comfort zone. risking rejection. risking humiliation. risking status. is it for me? no. i don't think i do these things so i look better. or so that any benefit would come to me. but that people would see me and give praise to God. it's all for Him. i don't want any of the credit. that's how i know that it's Him that's transforming me. i know i'm a selfish person. i'm self-seeking. i want fame. i want glory. i want all the appreciation and recognition and praise that i deserve for doing things well. but for me to deny that for myself and give all that and point all of it back to God shows that it can't be me. i want to give God the credit He deserves for all that He's done for me.

my life is His and His alone. i give up the right to run my life to earn the privilege to have my life run by God. =]

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

the process

last night, i got to catch up with a really amazing friend. we were able to air out frustrations, struggles, just heavy stuff that was on our hearts. we had church. praise God for that opportunity.

it was refreshing to have that again. to have church with someone one on one. to talk about life and God and everything inbetween. i want to make that a priority this year. in my head, i just keep on remembering that we're all made for relationship. for intimate connections with other people. that's how we grow. how we thrive. where we get recharged and filled up. i was telling my friend that it's not so much that deep conversations drain us and take a lot out of us, it actually does the reverse! it fills us up! compared to shallow relationships and just having fun all the time. having no intimate connections at all with people and settling for the small talk and nonsense conversations becomes more draining in the end. there's no substance. no meaning. no digging deeper to why someone is feeling the way they're feeling. no deeply convicting or revealing things that come out about yourself and the person you're sharing that conversation with. no room for God to move.

three things were made clear to me from the conversation that i had last night. that this year is really going to be about family for me. as in spending time with them, breaking down barriers with them, loving them through my actions. this year's also going to be about humility in all the areas of my life including worship, friendships, relationship, and wherever else God wants to move in me. and finally, this year will be challenging me to step out in faith. to really put my trust in God and let Him have the reins in my life. i really don't know where He'll take me but i want to follow. these themes have been coming up a lot lately through conversations and through situations. last night, God seemed to really impress them on my heart. it's nice knowing that He's still working in my life.

i'm still in the process of letting Him take over. where there's more of Him in my life and less of me. i was telling my friend that i was thankful that we get to start early in trying to become better men for our families and our friends. some people don't make this realization until it's too late. i'm just thankful that He's started on me already. it's kind of a bummer but also kind of a comfort to know that He's going to be working on my heart for the rest of my life. to make me a better person. a better friend. a better brother. a better son, father, husband, and any role that i'm going to be playing in the future. thank God for that. and i know that it's going to be a painful process. a process of letting go, starting over, messing up, trying again. it's going to be exhausting. it's going to be frustrating. it's going to be rewarding. it's going to be worth it. =]

here's to family, humility, and stepping out in faith. =]

Monday, January 17, 2011


led worship with a friend for a huntington beach prayer meeting last night. God was moving. really cool to be packed into a room full of people just praying for the city and passionate to make a difference for God.

i could barely sing last night. also had no lyrics. the projector just wouldn't read my mac. so ryan and i go outside and pray over the night. we started. and God took over. people didn't need the lyrics. the sang loud and i could feel the Spirit. it was awesome. and when it came to my turn to lead, my voice opened up just for the bit that i was singing. but the cool thing about it was it made room for everyone else in the room to sing. they were all leading worship and i was just singing along. =]

stoked to be a part of that small community. talked to a new friend about how it's so easy to get lost sometimes at big churches and how it's refreshing to be a part of a miniature expression of a megachurch and to actually know people, their names, and lives. really glad i came out last night.

praying for huntington beach. that God would continue to draw and tug hearts to Him. for the lost, the broken, the unwanted. that the theme on people's lips would be Jesus from pier to pier. =]

Saturday, January 15, 2011

praise God for a team of people who can embrace humility together. =]

Friday, January 14, 2011

half a voice

humility. the unsung hero. the backbone. the behind-the-scenes drive that makes people admirable. i don't have it.

haha but i know that it's something huge that God's embedding into me. into my character. the way i talk, play, work, think, love. humility doesn't come easy for me. and God doesn't teach me in a nice way either. most of the time, He smacks me in the back of the head with it. i never expect it, but it comes. it's only fitting that one of my favorite passages is from philippians 2. even though Jesus was the Son of God and even God Himself, He didn't demand or cling on to any special privileges. even though He deserved everything, He lived on barely anything and even went so far as to humble Himself to the level of a servant, a slave. a king who gives up all authority and power and royalty to become a slave for His people. to be mocked and spit on and finally crucified, murdered, tortured publicly. man, if that's not humility, i don't know what is.

and here's me on the other side, getting angry that someone else made me sound stupid. or having my ideas turned down. or not winning an argument. or not getting what i want, the way i want it, when i want it, and it's usually, now, now, now. and i look at this person and i don't want to be him. i don't want this to be the man that people look at and say, "he's nothing like Jesus."

one big way God's been teaching me humility and helping me find my identity in Him is music. He kind of taken music away from me, in a sense. i haven't been really leading worship for a while now. the team that i've been coaching has been stepping up their game and i couldn't be prouder of them. but as a result of that, i end up not leading as much. i'm not known as the worship leader anymore. that identity is kind of stripped away. i'm the guy in the back. kind of the nobody. for a musician, that's not ideal. it's kind of terrible. to not be noticed. to be the second thought. to be the one nobody really knows about or has any knowledge of the work put into a project. it sucks. but as a man who wants to be more like Christ, it's necessary. and at the same time, freeing. freedom from showmanship. freedom from caring so much about what people think. freedom to worship. freedom to grasp humility. freedom to let go of the identity that requires me to perform to earn it. freedom to take hold of the identity that requires nothing of me.

i've always prided myself in being able to sing fairly well. but God wants to take that away from me as well. for the past few times that i have been leading worship for the junior highers, down in san diego and at city lights, something that never really happened to me before occurred. i lost my voice during worship. now i don't know if it's because i haven't been leading worship for big gaps of time or whatever. but i know it's God taking away that pride. having to lead worship with a half a voice is truly humbling, especially right in the middle of a song and for the rest of the set. i feel like it's something that i prayed about a while back. that God would help me not treat leading worship like a show, an act, a performance. i was really struggling with that. i just couldn't understand why i couldn't focus on God when i was leading worship. i feel like God's calling me back to worshipping Him when i'm leading. to stop singing so loud. to stop with the showboating. to find my quiet space with Him. and when i do that, i sing perfectly fine. it was never about impressing people. it was never about how good i was. it's always been about me and Him and what He's gifted me with to glorify Him.

i feel like when i was leading focusing on people, i was singing with half of a voice to Him. and He's been calling me back to sing with a full voice to Him and Him alone. =]

Thursday, January 13, 2011


it's really cool to see the team that i've been semi leading for the past few months really take ownership of what they're doing. the worship team is such an encouragement to me. =] it's been so amazing to see what God's been doing in their hearts. it's so great to see people opening up and sharing on a deeper level, sharing sufferings and struggles, a small picture of what church is supposed to be like.

it's an honor to be a part of a community that is striving for change and deeper relationships. and not only with each other, but for the world around us. i know we're not going out and saving all the helpless, lost, and broken and letting them know that they're loved just yet, but it's awesome to take those first small steps in that direction. i can't wait to see how this rag tag group of people will pass down knowledge and wisdom to a younger generation in years to come and change the world for Jesus! but now, here's to what God's doing in the present! God is good. looking back a couple of months ago, i thought i was only going to be here a little while longer to coach the wbem worship team. that's it. we had no idea we would be here now. it's always been God behind it all. He had other plans for me, for us. i'm just glad to be a part of this adventure. =]

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


when i laid down to sleep last night, i was writhing in pain. my head felt like it was being attacked by razor blades from the inside out. i woke up this morning, no pain. praise God. i can't believe it. all i remember other than the pain last night was praying over and over again, "God help me!" i was really in a pathetic state. helpless physically and mentally. i couldn't move and i couldn't think. all i could do was pray and hope the pain would go away. i feel a lot better!

last night, the worship team was studying amos. we're learning about God's heart and passion for justice. i wanted everyone to be a part of something bigger than themselves and i think i was maybe kind of forcing it on them. one of my friends reminded me that the motivation should come from the heart and God's tug on them. totally forgot about that! i was putting my own expectations on people and forgot that they should be involved in these projects because they truly feel called to it! i was kind of thrown off by it a little bit but i'm glad that people can put me in check and help me remember the important things. we're learning about justice, but everyone learns at their own pace. we're learning about taking action, but God changes hearts at different times. i'm still learning patience. =]

i've been reading john 11 over and over again. there's something that sticks out. Jesus weeping. we all know this story. about Jesus coming to raise lazarus from the dead and He weeps when they take Him to the tomb. but i want to throw something out that i never really noticed before. yes, for certain He could've been weeping over lazarus' death. this was a friend that He loved dearly and this was a very moving situation, even if Jesus intended to raise him. what i notice is how much this foreshadows Jesus' death. if we look at verse 14 and 15, Jesus actually says that He's glad that He wasn't there when lazarus died. i don't think He was saying that He was happy that He wasn't there when lazarus was on his deathbed, rather He was glad that He wasn't there so that now, He could give them new grounds for believing. none of them understood what He was doing, but He knew all along. when He got there, martha and mary both told Him if He was there earlier, He could have saved lazarus and there came an anger in Him. He didn't want to do this. He didn't want to let His friend die. but it was for the purpose of glorifying God. in the midst of doing what He was supposed to do for God and for His disciples, it still hurt.

they kept on saying that He could have done something about it. anything. but He chose not to. He chose to not use His power to save lazarus so that He could show them something. i think there was this sense of impatience in Jesus. the sense that even after all the miracles He had done, His followers still wouldn't believe that He could do anything. nobody really believed that He would raise lazarus.

nobody really believed that Jesus would rise from the dead. when He wept, i don't think He was just weeping over lazarus, i think He might have also been weeping over what was to come for Him as well. there's a connection. He chooses not to use His power to save Himself so that He could take the punishment of the world on Himself. people didn't understand why He didn't just save Himself. why didn't He just hop off the cross or call down the heaven's armies? He could have made all of the people who were hurting Him pay for what they did. He had the power to do so. so why didn't He? it's because He chose not to. for our sake. the sake of the world. for love's sake.

we see Jesus' humanness here in His weeping. we remember in the garden that He would've accepted any other way to glorify God but to go on the cross. it was still extremely painful for Him to let His friend die. now it was His turn. to say goodbye to His friends and His family so that God could be glorified. even though He knew that He was going to rise again, it still hurt.

God, you're so good to us. Jesus, thank you so much for what you did on that cross for me. you took on so much pain for my sake. for the sake of this broken man. thank you.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


i've been gone gone gone. off the maps. off the charts. searching, waiting, getting lost, starting over again. this past year has been a whirlwind. so much has happened. from the decision to leave my home church, to the san diego urban project, to the worship team, to rock harbor, and now a church plant on the horizon. i find myself back here.

i was journaling a couple of days ago about how my relationship with God seems so distant and contrived. i couldn't understand why i felt so alone. i couldn't understand why i didn't feel any different. i thought everything would change when the new year started. i know i prayed for 2010 to be a difficult year so that i could learn to trust Him and be closer to Him. why don't i feel that way? 2011 has started and i feel desperately dissatisfied. i don't like the man that i've been lately. i don't like that i've been impatient, easily flustered, shy, angry, lonely. then i started asking myself. "is this my fault?"

"have i been the one that's been distancing myself from Him, from other people?" and i started realizing that i have been shrinking back from opportunities to dive in deeper with people. i've been shrugging off opportunities to get closer to God. for people, i'm scared of rejection. i'm scared of awkward silences. i'm scared of looking like that christian who always bugs you about your spiritual life. for God, i've been taking Him for granted. i know He's here, so i read a couple of verses in the bible every day and label that as spending my time with God. i don't think reading someone's autobiography every once in a while qualifies as me spending quality time with someone and entering into a deep and meaningful relationship with them. but that's what i've been doing. i've been completely missing out on God and what He wants to do in my life. i've been filling up my time with meaningless junk. i surf the web, watch movies, read gaming news, etc. and i rush through my time with God to do so.

i started asking about where that boy was who was so eager to wake up every morning to spend time with his Father. where is that excitement? where is that enthusiasm to just crack open his Father's love letter to him? i wish i was that boy again. i feel like a cynical old man, doubting everything, forgetting what love is, looking at the downside in everything, no hope, just dread. i hate that. i hate that that's what i've become. even though not a lot of people can see it, i know He sees it. He knows me inside out. He knows that i'm hurting.

and i know that it's definitely spiritual attack that i'm feeling this way. but at the same time, i know i play a part in it as well. i need to be intentional in my relationships with people. i know that's what i used to do. i would drive all the way to someone's house just to spend time with them and let them know that they're on my heart and that i love them. i would ask them how their spiritual lives were and pray over them. i've been turning away those opportunities to mentor and to lead the people that i love because i'm scared of those awkward silences. i'm scared they won't have anything to say. i'm scared i'll look stupid. but as a boy, as that excited kid who just wanted to share his Father's love, i didn't care. i just did it. i was talking to a friend yesterday and realized that i'd rather have people be challenged in their faith and wrestle with hard questions and give me that awkward silence rather than have them skim through life without ever being challenged. i need to get back to that. i just want to get back to being that person who is just so filled up with God's love that i can't contain it any longer. i have to tell someone about it. i have to pour it back into someone else. that's the man that i want to be.

at rock harbor the other night, we were talking about rejoicing. oh, how i have forgotten how to rejoice. not just in the good events, and not even the really bad events, but to give God praise in everything. the little things. in every detail of my life. to not rejoice in the situation, but rejoice that Christ is in the situation. that He is here no matter what. that's a reason to rejoice. remembering that God is good no matter the circumstances. i've forgotten how to do that. i want that again.

and now that i really think about it. praise God! He is so good to me! He's been working on my heart all year! from showing me He was with me when i couldn't feel Him at all at the beginning of this last year. to filling me up as i went to share life with the teenagers and kids down in san diego. to realizing that my relationship with my dad is something that affects me to this day and learning that i have to play an active part in redeeming that along with the Holy Spirit. to learning that it's such a burden and a heavy weight to maintain a facade. it's so much easier when i share my struggles with people and have them help me in it rather than hiding it and being afraid that people find out about the ugly me underneath! things that i couldn't learn on my own! He's been with me all along. hallelujah! He's taught me so many things this past year! so many life lessons. He's given me an amazing community. He's reunited me with my mentor. He's breaking down my relationship with thuy so we can build it up right. there's just so many things to give God praise for!

i'm so sorry, Lord, for ignoring you and pushing you aside. fill me with your love. help me remember how good you are! let me be excited about sharing this love with people again! that's what it's always been about! your love, your love, your love. it's been my driving force all along! these past couple of years. it's always been about how much you love me and me sharing that back to the people around me. that's what i want my life to be about. i want my life to be marked by love!! i want people to see that and give praise back to you! God, fill me with your love! throw out my fears of looking like a cheesy christian! i want to be a passionate christian, not a passive one! someone who is overwhelmed by love and overflowing with love for the people around me. transform my heart again. change me. i know you can! remind me why i'm here on this earth. to glorify you with my life. to glorify you by the way i'm marked by your love. it's so repetitive. it's so cliche. only because it's true. your love is why i'm here and i want to share that with the world!

hallelujah! =]