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Blended August 30, 2006

Posted by peterong in Rants.


“Whoever wants to become great among you mustbe your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.” Mark 10:43-44

“Because we children of Adam want to become great, He became small. Because we will not stoop, He humbled Himself. Because we want to rule, He came to serve.” Moravian Prayer

Dear friends and family, I hope you are well and I can’t believe that as I write this the approach of the Fall season is upon us. Another horizon for new aspects of growing and learning together. I am looking forward to it as it poses a new set of experiences and discoveries. Thank you for joining me in this exchange through words and I pray that it will spur you towards faith. I want to thank you in advance as I invite you to pray with me.

This past week has been a time of reflecting on leadership since PaLM and Intervarsity will be hosting a special lunch on Friday at the Chinese Evangel Mission Church in Queens with Paul Tokunaga. I took some time to examine the notions of leadership that provoked me in my years in ministry. I find that Jesus was gave such us such a profound paradox of sorts…to be great you must be the least…and yet, it is simply beautiful. This idea of surrender in order to lead. I am not impressed with myself when people follow me…but I am moved when they follow Christ. I think my most joyful experiences of being a leader are when I simply place a band-aid on a kid with a scraped knee, to listen as a camp counselor weeps for her parents, praying with brother who is struggling with his marriage, listening to worship songs with a baby. But in leadership, I find the necessity of meetings and planning are just an undergirding for these intimate moments of ministry to each other. They are a means to an end…Our communities are screaming for salvation…for an understanding from another that they are loved by God and by another person.

In the church, I have seen so many expressions of authority which ruthless power are exercised under the false pretense of ministry. It saddens me…because a measure of dignity in an undignified world is the “one-eyed man in a kingdom of the blind.” Christ gave dignity to those outsiders. Unrepaired people. He esteemed us even in moments of our languishing filth.

He became a paradox. A servant leader.

But the reality is we find leaders who isolate. who exclude. who gossip. who are distant. who are absent in times of need and available in times of “leading.” Where they find remedy to their lack of relationships through activities. Insincere friendships where building a church is more important than building up people. Through programs where there is high attendance but very little depth. Through the public eye of an audience of many…I am speaking to myself when I write this…because I have been seduced by this in my years of serving…but God didn’t allow me to stay that way…he gave me a garment of praise for this heaviness. I am being redeemed of this…and I am so thankful for that.

So my hope is we foster a new generation of servants. A community that is riddled with authentic integrity, humility of heart, a passion for growth, an intimacy with God and people. A joyous and frustrated group of ragamuffins who have not yet arrived but neither has stopped their journey towards discovery. Of that elusive but gloriously available experience of amazing grace.


Here are my prayer updates:

Asian American Laity Project
The funding is coming in slowly and I am developing a church campaign this Fall as I speak at several churches. I received a surprise check from a sister and it was a huge source of encouragement at a critical and trying time. I am doing follow-up with my time with people last week and hopefully will result in some partnerships.

I had a great phone conversation with an IV staff about developing a transition ministry for Asian American campus students who will be graduating and entering into the professional world and new church culture. We shared our mutual passions for the Asian American ethnic church and we are beginning conversations about how to come along the Asian American church to reach these post-college students.

I had a great chat with Dr. Timothy Tseng who is pioneering Institute for the Study of Asian American Christianity (ISAAC) and we explored some strategies and possible partnerships for the Asian American community.

I participated in an Asian American Emergent Skypecast. Thanks to DJ Chuang for hosting the Second Asian American Emergent Skypecast and we had some thoughtful discussions on how the emergent church movement can be thought of towards an Asian American church. We had the following participants who ventured onto skype to meet over the internet… We had including Emergent Asia’s Sivin Kit, as well as Ben Pun, David Park, Tim Liu, and my buddy Theo Wong. You can listen in to part 1 and part 2 online.

I am planning to connect with Asian Young Life to seek a conversation with them to see how their commitment and vision for youth in a culturally specific manner could be transferred to the local churches who are serving Asian American youth.

Pray for progression of the ministry and that there is support for this. I feel that there is a certain lag of funding and I am still in the midst of communicating and partnering with the local Asian American church.

Semester Begins (A blending of my past)
ESF/Syracuse University Fall semester began and Jamie is under way for another semester as she pursues her academic aspirations. I am taking Chinese class and it was great to see old students. A former youth Stacy has arrived and again I feel that ministry from NYC is coming here to remind me of the collision of worlds. Jamie and I took her, her brother, her Boston Red Sox friend (booo!!!) and my fellow Chinese language student Stanley (his first time at church! congrats Stanley) to Eastern Hills Bible Church in their new building. It was breathtaking and refreshing to meet so many new people and families who are so passionate about the mission of engaging seekers, here is there statement: “Our mission is guiding seekers to discover and fully enjoy Christ’s love… by engaging in evangelism, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and worship. We believe that we’re all seekers… whether we’ve followed Christ for years or are just beginning to learn about Him.“Jamie is ministering to Stacy and exploring possiblities for mentoring (as her time is pretty busy). Pray for these students and our interaction with them. Pray for this new semester be one filled with encounters with students and friends whom we can build community around.

Serving the Servants

Jamie organized a special ministry opportunity with a participants of Grace in Motion at the Rescue Mission. She organized a group of 10 volunteers to serve meals to the people of the community. It was amazing to see her lead and to just come along for the ride. The people who volunteered had a short bible reflection from Luke and a debriefing meeting afterwards. It was great to see people serve on a Saturday and to see how it was a blessing to those who receive as well as those who gave. Pray that there will be more opportunities for people to serve this community of Syracuse and for a commitment to engage and love this city with a sense of hope and diligence. I was amazed by the staff there who are so patient and serve the community with such dignity and respect. Everytime there was a special need or request for something the staff made sure everyone was accomadated. Pray for the staff at the Rescue Mission as they are spending their lives committed to restoring the lives of these people. Pray for the winter months where many of them will be on the streets to find warmth and a home for a meal there.

Eastern Chinese Bible Conference
I am heading to the Eastern Chinese Bible Conference this weekend to facilitate an Asian American Leadership Roundtable with some established and emerging ministry leaders. Participants include DJ Chuang: Christian Asian American blogger extraordinaire, editor of Asian American Youth Ministry and Executive Director of L2 Foundation. Greg Jao: IVCF NY/NJ Regional Director and contributor to “ Following Jesus Without Dishonoring your Parents” Anna Lee: IVCF Staff worker at NYU serving Graduate Students. Paul Tokunaga: Main speaker, Author of “Leading to Serve” and IVCF Director of Asian American Ministries. Lisa Yu: IVCF Staff worker at Adelphi University.Glennis Lo: EPIC, Campus Crusades Asian American Ministry staff worker. David Park: Blogger and Youth Pastor in a Korean American church in Georgia.

It will be an informal and “unplugged” discussion at the conference where others can eavesdrop on our discussion. I pray that it will be a good opportunity for people to network and share their hearts and minds. This is a special conference to me because in 1998, I attended this conference and made a commitment to Christ…and a year later I went into full time ministry.

I will also be conducting a workshop on evangelism with a focus on postmodern seekers. Pray for the roundtable and the workshop to inspire more dialogue among those who are serving the Asian American church.

I am prepping my talk on October 21 One House focusing on our call for social justice. I am excited to work with musician Neah Lee and also with sponsors Bread and Water and World Vision. My talk will focus on the book of Isaiah and Jesus’s ministry on earth. The talk will be focus on the inclusiveness of the gospel to reach the outsiders so that it points to an exclusive God. Prayer for my talk and my discussion.

There may be an opportunity for me to serve with a ministry in NYC part-time and from home in Syracuse. I am hoping to meet with them to discuss the details and I am praying for this great chance to serve again. So pray that God will bring this about according to His will.

I also have an opportunity to write for an online magazine so it is nice to get back to one of my first loves. I will be writing about post-college Asian American students and their views on church and faith.

Pray for planning for our return to NYC and for what that will look like. Jamie has been so good in working hard so we can return to the big apple sooner but I am trying to not pressure her to finish early but rather allow her to really enjoy this time she has at school as a season to learn and to engage on campus. So, however long God wants us here…may we be willing to stay and be still.

Love you guys and thanks for reading this long prayer update.


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