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Definitions of moments July 10, 2006

Posted by peterong in Personal Ministry Thoughts, Rants.
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“Nothing shall be lost that is done for God or in obedience to Him.” — John Owen

Dear Friends and family,

I am still alive!!! Despite some recent sebacks (I got laid off from my Syracuse part-time position and some recent adjustments in my life in Syracuse) I am pressing forth and enjoying this time as a season of reflection and challenge to trust in His provision. To do things unto the Lord…out of reverence and devotion.

I am back and somewhat recovered from an intense week speaking at the New York Summer Conference at Hofstra. This annual Conference attracts about 1,400 participants each year as people from the east coast gather from different Chinese churches. I had the privilege this year to be the main speaker for the youth track. The theme verse was “Perserving Faith” based on Hebrews 11:39-12:1.

I want to thank you for all your prayers and your heart that reminds me of the “cloud of witnesses” that continue to encourage me. I am so blessed by the community of friends who continue to encourage and challenge with truth and love.

It was my third year attending this conference and in the past I felt a bit ambivalent about the conference because it was mostly for “churched” youth and I felt many of them were apathetic to their faith or to be too “familiar” with the whole conference “thing.” But as I prayed and prepared for the talks, I became more and more passionate about giving these youth a challenge to engage with the gospel and to also be authentic with God, with each other and with themselves. As I opened up my talk on Friday night…I felt a stirring and despite all my cynicism, I wanted to be faithful to the preaching on the gospel…as the days went and I spoke, I spoke at the morning and evening sessions (the nights were shorter), I saw the youth being engaged with me…I really felt the presence of the Holy Spirit…and their eyes seem to respond with attentiveness and nodding (some nodding off too…).

Then on Sunday night, there was suppose to be an altar call for the youth…I told the leaders that I am not a big fan of altar calls and in my years at CCHC I didn’t do altar calls but rather have the youth respond individually with God…it is confusing and emotional and sometimes the kids respond to the altar calls for different reasons (peer pressure, it is the thing to do…and just the pure emotions of it)…Also, I feel that it gives a false sense of the “defining moment” whereas our journey towards discipleship is a gradual and progressive one…that requires a series of defining moments instead of just one…I wanted the kids to respond to the gospel in their seats and in their own time…and not the altar…so, I expressed to the leadership that I wasn’t going to do one…they supported me and we didn’t plan on one…and I spoke to the worship team and they agreed with me….as I prepped for the evening talk about the journey of the “prodigal son” and Jesus’s own journey toward calvary…and there was this heaviness in my heart…I felt in my heart that God was speaking;

“Peter, these are my followers, don’t deny them the opportunity to walk from their seats toward the front…let them walk with me…towards calvary…”

and in that moment I looked up from the pulpit I saw the youth weeping…then I invited the youth to come up and commit their lives to Christ and to symbolically walk with Christ toward the altar. A dozen kids came forward and then another dozen…soon there was about 200 hundred youth who stood before me and some in their seats just weeping. As tears were coming from my eyes, I expressed to the youth that this is a moment of brilliant surrender…and that this is not the “defining moment” and to pursue God with diligence and to “come home.”

As the conference closed, I saw these young church kids connect with the gospel and to renew their faith. We laughed we cried and the leadership and I were amazed the way God moved in these few days…and the “witnessing” night was filled with such authenticity as youth shared about issues dealing with drugs, addictions, brokenness, authenticity, and their return home this weekend…

Overall, it was one of those moments that God has given me as a way of reminding me of this simple truth, that He uses even me…to speak…to engage…to offer a simple message that reminds me that we are beautiful and God is beauty…

You can read about their experiences from the New York Summer Conference blogring or you can read comments from my xanga

Fund Development
I am still in crunch time and the reality is setting in that I might not be able to start the ministry in the Fall but continuing and trusting. There has been some highlights as friends are supporting me and also so moments of faith that is so exciting to see what God will do in this next season of ministry. Pray for clarity as I share my heart for this new ministry that I am finding more and more is needed in the Asian American church.

Tiempo
Jamie and I had some time with friends and family. It was nice to spend time with her family and learning more about the stories that make up her life..I am so thankful for these friends! You guys remind me of the beauty of an Acts 2 church.

Speaking Engagements
I am getting ready for speaking in New York in September for the One House event which will have a focus on unity for the church and also a pursuit for Social Justice. I am also filling out the schedules for speaking at several conferences. I will be speaking at a joint service for OCM High School and College Fellowships.

I am planning out my summer to assist with church ministries in the Fall. OCM will not be needing my assistance with Zion, their college ministry and I am still working with New York Chinese Baptist Church to discuss my involvement with their start of their mentorship program.

Syracuse Alliance Church Youth Ministry
I organized a prayer walk in the community with several of the Youth Leadership Team members and we prayed along the outlining communities and also for an area where a lot of our youth come to our Wednesday night “Breakthrough” fellowship. Many of these kids are urban kids who are unchurched and God has done an amazing job of bringing them. After the prayer walk we had a productive meeting where we were able to strategize over some of the upcoming months and re-focusing our ministries. I am very thankful for a great team of people who are so committed and determined to serve these youth. I am still trying hard to be sensitive to them and not “step on their toes” and allow them to follow what God is directing the youth ministry to be.

Prayer Items
Funding Funding Funding…pray that according to His time, that the funding would come in so I can launch the Asian American Laity project with PaLM.

Jamie and I are in the midst of some transitions in Syracuse and discovering new possibilities for us to serve together. We are both anxious and excited as we want to make sure our direction is filled with Holy Spirit insight and that we make sure we continue to develop the relationships we have already and continue to seek a deeper fellowship with folks here.

Pray for friends who are getting married and our own prayer life to be filled with a sense of yearning and groaning for the glory of God.

Our friend Amy is getting baptized this weekend…we are so excited for her and praying that this public expression will be filled with such a recognition of bringing her home and into a deeper discipleship with Him.

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