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“Beautiful Mess” June 1, 2006

Posted by peterong in Uncategorized.
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“Better a little faith dearly won, better launched alone on the infinite bewilderment of truth, than perish, on the splendid plenty of richest creeds.”-Henry Drummond.

Dear Prayer family,
Thanks for your patience, I am recovering from a Memorial Day Weekend where I served as advisor and workshop leader at Teen Eastern Chinese Bible Conference.

As always, God continued to pour out his mercy on these teens. It was a special year for me because there was a group of teens who were once conferees coming back to serve as workshop leaders. I am amazed to see how much God has enriched these former teens. One is going to Japan to serve in missions this summer, another is going to Kenya with Wycliffe and studying linguistics, another is contemplating full-time ministry and the stories continue. These lives were part of the youth God gave me the privilege of serving at TECBC and now they are sources of such encouragement to me as they serve the Lord.

Beautiful Mess
One night at the conference, there is an all-night prayer meeting…I saw the teens crying out to God…these broken lives weeping, strewn about the sanctuary collapsed and exhausted from all their hurts.. and here it was…this vision…of the “beautiful mess” of God’s people. Beautiful broken shards of the mosaic of God’s redemptive canvas. I wept with them and prayed with them. As the words came out, I realized God was nourishing my soul…

Praise God. Praise Him, the wonderful counselor. The Redeemer.

One of the things that I learned was that God is showing me that there is much to be done in the work of the Asian American Christian community…in our preaching need to return to the character of Christ…to create an environment where we can engage and challenge each other to see what God is doing in our lives…to learn from one another the love of God. Our worship saturated with reverence, fear and most of all love. A ravished love for God that is overfilling with Joy.When I think of messy, I don’t mean ugly…but rather authentic joy….

A leader told me this week, “I don’t believe you have to be joyful in serving…” and I was perplex…how does one serve in love without joy? How can we possibly resemble the “joy of our salvation” without joy? I believe that we have forced a Christianity that is focused on what is “right” versus in making it beautiful. As one seeker once reminded me through a probing question…”Do you really love Jesus or are you just trying to make Christianty sound good…” so insightful…I am not saying that we have to yell Hallelujah everytime we serve, but it comes from the hope we have in Christ….and hope is not a duty…it is not joyless…

As I lead a workshop on evangelism, I found that we have a difficult time sharing our relationship with God but rather good at”selling” God because we are famished from our understanding of our intimate relationship with the heart of Christ. The gospel means Good News…what is the good news? Rebuke? Shame? Judgement? Discounting people into labels? We have broken people serving in our churches…thirsty people we have asked to give water to others. Without an encouraging word…

Are we prepared to give an answer….but with…gentleness and respect…(1 Peter 3:15). Do we respect those who we encounter as messy…we don’t care about the person…but have bulletted them as problems to be solved…ministry is messy…people are messy…but they are beautiful messes…and every encounter that Christ had with sinners reflect this…I wish it wasn’t so, I wish that I could just write people off without giving that person an opportunity to experience God through serving. I wish I could focus on a team of people I WANT…

That is why we can only do ministry with the compulsion of the Holy Spirit. To see the person as God sees them.

Everything….is redeemable…forgive us of our desire to label . forgive us for judging their abilities and not their hearts. Forgive us in how we have reduce them to a caricature instead of the glorious picture of what You wish to do through them. Teach us. Humble us.

Ministry Development:
Praise God that two churches will be partnering with me to consult their churches with a college fellowship and also another church to develop their mentorship program. I had great discussions this past week with some of the leadership and looking forward to serving. I went to a Syracuse Area Youth Workers Meetings and had a great time learning and also sharing about the training of lay leadership.

The Asian American Leadership Roundtable is coming along. I am excited as more ministers and workers are lining up to be part of this at the Eastern Chinese Bible Conference (College and Career). Special thanks to Lisa Yu from Intervarsity as she is partnering with me on this roundtable. She posed some issues to think about and some other possibilities. Pray for the speaker Paul Tokunaga as he prepares to share the word of God.

Refl3ctions hit a little speedbump with our speaker backing out two days ago…we are scrambling to find a speaker. Pray for this event as the youth are inviting their seeker friends. I pray that God will continue to use the wonderful talents of Jinny Kim and Neah Lee to speak into these thirsting young hearts. This event is coming up soon!

Fund Development
This is looking bleak…It might look like that there will be a need for a miracle as I did follow up calls and there seems to be some tentative support out there. I am praying that God will bring about a decisive moment for me…to pursue…to wait…to stop…so I am asking you guys join in me.

Speaking Engagements
I am heading to the city this weekend to speak at the Mid-Hudson Chinese Christian Church please pray for my message as I am speaking on one of my favorite Bible men…Abraham…I am a little unprepared but I am excited since many of the congregation are going to New York Summer Conference where I will be speaking for the youth track. I will be speaking for Pastor David Koo at New Joy Fellowship Church at the end of June.

MISC…
I am planning some activities for the Syracuse Alliance Church, the local church Jamie and I attend. I will be leading several prayer walks and also mentoring a youth leader there. I feel that there is a strain somewhere that I can’t put my finger on. A large part has to do with my commitment with New York City but also my part-time job. Pray that God will speak into my heart.

Pray for comfort for those of my friends who are dealing with different degrees of lamenting. Some with parents…some with friends who are ill and others who are trying to start a family.

Pray for Jamie and I as we are working to develop a stronger prayer life regarding our future in partnering together in ministry. We are looking for opportunities to serve together to cultivate and practice of a life of serving God…with all our hearts…with our souls and all our minds….

Everything we give.

We are thankful for the answered prayers for relationships with different people in Syracuse. Special thanks to Brian and Rachel for their courage to eat Chinese food (even with the head and tail!) Thank you Kelly for being such an amazing brother to me, pursuing me towards authenticity and for all of you New Yorkers who have called me, emailed me and remind me that although I am deeply loved and cherished. I give praise to God for that.

Lastly, I want to pray for my faith to be protected during this time. I know that I am going through a crisis of belief regarding my future in ministry. Pray that God continues to build me up in faith…to seek His purpose.

To Financially Support the ministry please send checks to:
PaLM
48-19 196th Street
Fresh Meadows, New York
11365-1316
please mark memo: Asian American Laity Ministries or Peter Ong

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