i spent the holiday weekend at a leaders forum in chi-town interacting face to face, mano-a-mano with high-level leaders across a spectrum of fields. i am truly humbled. and yes, i finally got to meet DJChuang. the man is real. (thanks dj!) i learned new dimensions in leadership and the larger asian-american church. modeled for me was an unconditional positive regard for others, the importance of embracing those we interact with. they embraced me in my foolishness and immaturity and pointed me to act with moral courage. now that classes begin again, here’s wisdom from my new hero and friend to start this academic year with:
“Classes will test your mind, but life will test your very self, Let no one violate integrity on your watch.” – Gus Lee
forging ahead ::.
i watched the us open during my last days in my visit to chi-town. increasingly, i am fascinated by this incredible competition of talent and skill. one of the reasons i admire athletes so much is the amount of effort taken to fine tune their bodies to make them faster and more accurate. they are forged. the athletes i believe we all love deepest are those who are not just highly talented but those we know to have put in hours upon hours of that fine tuning, what we may call practice. players like jordan, or even more recently, the olympians we cheered for in athens.
having talent and a hard work ethic truly goes a long way. great talent alone only gets you so far. time and strenuous effort as well as heart are necessary ingredients to achieve high goals. i am reminded of anna kournikova. she had great talent. she worked hard enough to get into the professional tennis circuit. however, she did not put in the time, effort and heart to win any tournaments. she got sidetracked with being a pretty face in the sport.
now, i think the same goes for those of us in the church. we go by the name Christian but in practice our muscles have not been accustomed to the forging process. many Christians are missing out on living fully because it takes sweat and often, times of discomfort. what keeps us from moving ahead, and becoming whole in our self and in our relationships? — fear, we lack the courage to move forward. the forgery is a hot place.
“I’ve been taking all these philosphy courses, and we talk about what’s true, what’s important, what’s good. Well, how do you teach people to be good?” And, she added, “what’s the point of knowing good if you don’t keep trying to become a good person?” (a frustrated student asks in the divine conspiracy 4)
there are so many extremely gifted and talented individuals in the chruch body. i am now thinking of those who are particularly called to be pastors and teachers among others. leaders. i know many young leaders who rely heavily on talent or their call. there is just average disciplined study of scripture, or excellence in other matters, doing enough just to get by. they are full of ideas. ideas are powerful and often mislead those who listen. there are ingredients missing in the forging process. i am not simply talking about performance. too much emphasis is placed on that. asian-americans know all about that. i’m talking about the process.
some living truths :: the fear of the lord – that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding (job 28:28). let the word of Christ dwell richly in you as you engage one another (col 3:16) meditate and uphold the ways of God (ps 119). know that persecution and defending the truth test us (james 1:3), our faith and living hope sustain us (heb 11:1) and that faith needs actions (james 2:17). celebrate transformational living – becoming wholly mature children of God together (eph 4:13).