Archive for the 'Devotional' Category


Fringe Quote On Guilt

I love this quote from the new J.J. Abrams show (Alias, Lost), Fringe

“I want to take a shower from the inside out”

– Fringe, FBI Agent Olivia Dunham

Doesn’t that describe guilt and sin well?

I’ve been watching a lot of TV lately since I’ve sorta been on vacation with a newborn. Logan is officially a month old tomorrow. Can’t believe it’s been a month. How convenient does this coincide with all the new season premieres.

Related Posts:
J.J. Abrams on Mystery


J.J. Abrams on Mystery

Cloverfield opens today. The trailers have been brilliant.
Everyone wants to know what destroys NYC.

At TED (the conference featuring leading thinkers and doers in technology, entertainment, and design) director J.J. Abrams shared something very interesting about mystery. He showed a wrapped box with a large question mark on it that he had purchased years ago but never opened. He probably never will either.

He says the mystery of what’s inside the box is more interesting than anything that might be in the box.

“It represents infinite possibility; it represents hope; it represents potential… mystery is the catalyst for imagination… maybe there are times where mystery is more important than knowledge.

I love how he describes mystery as being full of possibilities. It reminds me of how each of us is a mystery like that box. Our future is a mystery. Everyone has their own idea about what “could be”. That’s an exciting thought. It celebrates our diversity and how our lives can unfold a particular story. It takes shape and form as we are engaged in this world on this side of heaven. Also we won’t know how our lives affect one another. When we meet, share, play, learn or stare, glare and crash through life, it all gives shape to the mystery of our lives. There’s a greater story to be told.

I think about a new life in the womb, I’m speechless as to the infinite possibilities.

You can download the talk in 420p here >>



Over a month. I know it’s been awhile. I’m a poor blogger.
I’ve been living life.
But i’m back now.

passion flower 1passion flower 3passion flower 2

My neighbor grows passion flowers in her backyard. She gave me one of these exquisite flowers when they bloomed and a lesson along with it. Knowing that I’m a pastor she knew I would definitely be interested in the history behind its name. Indeed the passion flower has a great story to tell when they bloom and sadly it only blooms for a day.
Actually the name, *”Passion” does not refer to love, but to the Passion of Christ on the cross. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Spanish Christian missionaries discovered this flower and adopted its unique physical structures as symbols of Crucifixion. For example: the 72 radial filaments (or corona) represent the Crown of Thorns. The ten petals and sepals represent the ten faithful apostles. The top 3 stigmata represent the 3 nails and the lower 5 anthers represent the 5 wounds. The flower has been given names related to this symbolism throughout Europe since that time. In Spain, it is known as Espina de Cristo (Christ’s Thorn). *taken from wiki
It sounds a little forced but it helps us remember aspects of the passion.

Similarly, Jesus used objects to tell stories and help us remember significant things.
Simple bread and wine, the basic sustenance of daily living, together a meal, a symbol of his own body and blood broken and poured out for us so that we could live.



i heart easter not the osterhase

The Easter Bunny
some things just need to be squashed.
i.e.: the easter bunny or the osterhase.

The incarnation otherwise known as…Christmas where God became man is definitely a great event in our Christian tradition but Easter sunday is what God had in mind to become vulnerable flesh and blood for. He was born to be subjected to everything that works against and violates the nature of God, which is what we call sin and the ultimate result of that is death.
Therefore, Jesus came to die!
But more than that, Jesus had to die and come back.
This is our Christian hope.

On this side of heaven we need hope
but it’s important to recognize what we hope in.
We all long for something greater than our present situation. Especially when things break down in our lives. When things fail us. When even our own bodies work against us.
As I was preparing this Easter message, I was struggling through allergies or a cold, a shoulder muscle pull and other ailments. I feel the effects of my fallen body every morning the moment I force my eyes open. We can try all we want to make this body better or even this life. Some things will still leave us feeling empty. There are things we just can’t solve on our own.
Because Christ has risen from the dead, we too will rise in every sense into a new reality. Our hope will be realized.
You don’t need eyes to have vision.
You don’t need your body to show your strength.

In the Old Testament, ancient men even had this hope and vision of the resurrection of Christ before Jesus had been made known. We’re given the story of a man that was greatly afflicted. He experienced great abundance and deep loss.
But he had this to say –
I know my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth
And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.
I myself will see him with my own eyes, I and not another
How my heart yearns within me.
Job 19:25

excerpt from easter message, we are resurrection people, delivered at cccnc


ash wednesday redux

last wednesday we flew out bright and early to phoenix, az from philly. this is our first family vacation – wifey, baby and me. in packing i kept second guessing myself. do i really need to bring all this stuff? do we really need all these toys? i had desperately wanted to simplify my own personal packing. i can’t really simplify jayden’s. the thought of being that family you see in the movies or commercials going to the beach with three kids, the dog and the dad clumsily haulin all the toys, beach chairs, and the cooler from the mini-van, well it just doesn’t sit well with me. not saying i’m there yet but traveling with the family has its challenges.

setting out on our little journey was eventful. first, i had forgotten that i left my mega swiss army knife in my carry on. you can imagine how the TSA felt about that. i miss my knife. the seating arrangement was borderline claustrophobic for me. jayden sits on us the whole 5hour flight. well, sitting would be so heavenly. i didn’t premeditate that part of the flying experience. afterall, this was my first real family vacation. note – jayden is not one of those cuddly little children, angelic as he may appear. upon arrival, the airline had lost a piece of luggage, the most important one containing my wife’s belongings and jayden’s stuff. my patience wore. i wanted to yell. complain. throw a fit. i lugged the luggage we did have to the car rental place to further negotiate about trivial insurance additions and the choice of car (i mean, mini-van) with the youngin behind the counter trying to convince me to rock out in an SUV with the sun-roof. we exit the airport and immediately we were faced with bumper to bumper traffic. i can go on.

jesus called out the leading religious authorities of his time on caring mainly about cleaning up the things on the outside and their relentless pursuit of ritualistic holiness while on the inside continually they are corrupted by greed, self-indulgence, hypocrisy and wickedness.

last wednesday was also ash wednesday which marks the beginning of the lenten season, a journey of focus and reflection of our lord going to the cross. it should draw us deeper into personal discipleship. typically people give up something like candy, meat, or some sort of food that they enjoy as if we have to sacrifice good things to honor the most high. it has become trendy to give up stuff like instant messaging, the internet, tv or some other form of media. some people flog themselves to identify with Christ in his suffering. it seeps into our thinking that we have to be miserable. very often people miss the point. perhaps instead of giving up something or thinking we need to be miserable, we should focus on adding things – things that make us more like Jesus, getting closer to him, exalting him. put your christ on.

colossians 3:12-14
So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

philippians 2:1-18
1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
12Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
14Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16as you hold out[c] the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. 17But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.


magical people

my boy hosive proclaimed his love for magical people once.
i love magical people too.
there are special people in the world who step into a room and charge the atmosphere simply with their presence. there are those who have a quiet way about them and when they speak they earn the silence of others. their words can change lives, alleviate and heal the oppressive states we find ourselves in. some are able to always see moments in life as colorful living beauty where others see as mundane. they see people, really see them in such a way they feel more human again. they may walk beside you for even a brief period of time and are able to leave such an fingerprint upon your soul that you are no longer the same. sometimes it’s in their death that makes that kind of mark which moves us to finally count our days and live a new kind of life.
in memory of a good brother who touched our communities – raise your cups high. drink to life. let the firing of rifles resound.
alas i repent. i don’t have many days left to spare.

just like the one who stepped into this world, walked with everyday people and called them his friends even when they weren’t when it counted most. he didn’t force people to live a certain way but he spoke of another way and showed them the way to this life, the way it was meant to be lived. in fact he was the way.

when i look at the world [u2, all that you can’t leave behind ]
When you look at the world / What is it that you see? / People find all kinds of things / That bring them to their knees / I see an expression / So clear and so true / That it changes the atmosphere / When you walk into the room
So I try to be like you / Try to feel it like you do / But without you it’s no use / I can’t see what you see / When I look at the world
When the night is someone elses / And you’re trying to get some sleep / When your thoughts are too expensive / To ever want to keep / When there’s all kinds of chaos / And everyone is walking lame
You don’t even blink now, do you / Or even look away
So I try to be like you / Try to feel it like you do / But without you it’s no use / I can’t see what you see / When I look at the world
I can’t wait any longer / I can’t wait till I’m stronger / Can’t wait any longer / To see what you see / When I look at the world
I’m in the waiting room / Can’t see for the smoke / I think of you and your holy book / While the rest of us choke
Tell me, tell me, what do you see? Tell me, tell me, what’s wrong with me

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. colossians 3:12-14

i heart my magical friends and yeah they’re supastars.

respect to my boy webba and the yoyonation for being showcased on nbc news JOIN THE NATION!

much love to anna michelle and teddy for getting blinged out last week and gettin yours on ugly betty
anna and teddy anna and teddy
get your apron on at – sold at anthropologie and other fine retailers…

and of course this post aint magical without my best boy who knows just what to do when the moment arises. you just love the camera.
thanks eric for the kodak moment
jayden was demonstrating his skills of listening and compassion when little becca didn’t exactly appreciate all the superbowl excitement


home again. . .

thanks CBCM!!! i had the privilege of speaking at the cbcm retreat this weekend. it was a real joy to be there and see some good ol’ friends and make some new ones. cbc youth rock! it was definitely a different retreat. it was…a retreat! it didn’t feel packed with meetings and things u had to do. people laughed, played, praised, listened. retreated.
i learned some lessons myself. i never missed home more even though i enjoyed being away and doing what God has enabled me to do but i missed my family. it was the first real extended time away from them. it’s good to be home again. home is not just the place i lay my head. right now it’s wherever my family is. it would have been even more fun to have lauren and jayden at the retreat but alas!

also there’s just something about retreat food. is it just me? i think the food’s still working its way through my system. and doggonit. i’m crazy sore and tired.

next message: the text given is acts 19:22-41. what to make of this?
this will be a marathon speaking month. 4 down. 6 more messages to prepare. so little time.

when it rains. it pours.
ok can this month get any more difficult? i just found out that my aunt passed away over the weekend. if i wasn’t away i would have witnessed her massive heart attack at a family get together. i almost called her the night before to let her know i won’t be able to attend the gathering at her place but decided to pass on that call. i’m a little regretful that i didn’t now. so many ifs flood my thoughts. i keep rehearsing what i could, shoulda, woulda done. her passing has caused a deeper stirring within me. it’s more than just because i was probably her favorite nephew. as a minister, it’s so much easier to talk to people when they’re not your own family. i don’t know how to respond to my unbelieving cousins who don’t think life or God for that matter is very fair to take both parents who were just embarking on their retirement plans and finally enjoy life. my aunt and uncle worked constantly. typical hard working chinese parents. i just don’t know how to respond. talking on the phone with my cousin was filled with awkwardness. i think they have a certain disdain towards me being a minister. on one hand, there’s a part of me that cries out to everyone – “u better get yo’ house and affairs in order sucka or else!” and there’s another part of me that also screams “it’s not fair.” i have no disillusions about life, it isn’t fair. we’re all dying it’s just a matter of when and how not if. i must make a journey back home to brooklyn. the weather calls for chance of thunder storms by week end.

this will probably be the hardest month of my known existence. baby, i’m not home yet.

“And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” – Hebrews 11


awaiting harvest

awaiting harvest
i’ve been spending a lot of time working on a few potted plants that we have (named appropriately – basil pronounced bah-zil, bamboo, marigold). i can’t imagine the work needed for a garden but i anticipate having my own one day. gardening and farming are such foreign concepts to much of our modern senses but i think we’re slowly making a return to the natural with the rising interest in organic living. oh, if only there was a closer whole foods market near us. all these years i’ve been an undercover tree-hugger. i’ve been learning a lot about farming and doing some deep thinking about this vocation of miraculous returns over the years. there’s something right and profoundly spiritual about it. your senses are so involved. you do become more aware of the flavors of food and as some of you may know that’s something i’m passionate about. i love basil right now more than ever. it is more satisfying now to garnish a tomato and mozzarella dish with the fresh basil that you grew yourself. you are more keen to its flavor and the sensations it brings to the dish.

i’ve learned some other deep spiritual lessons along the way. gardens and plants need to be worked. we all need to work on our gardens. there are many scriptural references to human relationships and gardens worth exploring. anyways, tending to our gardens is very laborious and it never really stops. there’s always something to be done. i sometimes need to get in there and start pulling out the weeds and the soil needs to be softened. i need to water regularly and prune. likewise, my own heart.

i’ve come a long way since i lived with my good brothers in a house where we had to maintain a large yard. we needed to pull weeds and cut grass. having come from the city, all this was completely foreign to me but i was willing to learn and make do. i couldn’t tell the difference between weeds and other plants. i realized we were in deep when i was asked by my landlord why i didn’t pull the weeds. i responded, “i thought they were trees.” so you can gather how enormous our weeds had gotten.

the perpetual theme of farming is hopefulness. you leave behind the mistakes of the past year and look forward to a better year ahead.

tend that heart – soften it – pull out those weeds from the roots – plant good seeds – water and pay attention to daily – enjoy the blessings

*** already looking to tend to our baby boy’s garden. only 55 days away now and counting…


naked at home

“home is a place not only of strong affections, but of entire unreserve; it is life’s undress rehearsal, its backroom, its dressing room.”
~Harriet Beecher Stowe

it’s great to be home after a long weekend. i enjoyed meeting some wonderful new people and share the way, the truth, the life. you know who you are. thanks for giving me the opportunity to learn and grow.

coming home and just playing with my wife’s belly was all i needed as i tend to crash after retreats and conferences. while i get great joy out of being at church, retreats, conferences or just simply being around God’s people, there is something incredibly comforting about being home with my wife. what makes home so great? obviously, for one, i’m living with the love of my life. i don’t think i’d write this entry if i were living by myself.

home is also the place where i lay my head. i’m surrounded by the people that mean the most to me and know me, as i am, without pretense. that may include those who drop by our place regularly, those in our community. it is a place where we get over doing things the wrong way so often only to strive towards honestly learning how to do things together and in the right way. we can only get better with each other.

i know some homes may not be the safest places. we may have grown up in homes where we fear, hide and learn to be great actors in the world outside. what goes on behind the velvet curtains no one really knows but us. we talked about families and parenting at this conference over the weekend. it can be such a daunting task. there are so many ugly things in this world and horrible things that can happen to us. sin – things are not the way they’re supposed to be. we’re not what we’re supposed to be. oh but for grace. grace finds beauty in everything.

continuing on my messages and previous post on being naked. while naked is the point, to move beyond fear and rejection, we need to be naked with an agenda. yes, it’s acceptance but also moving to the place where we need to be, where we need to go. let’s get there together. so that, there’s no need to put those dirty clothes back on. no need for masks or costumes. no more pretending. we are finally ourselves, only better. healed.

i want my son to grow up in a home where he is who he is all that he has been created to be. it’s where he will learn to play well with others. i can’t wait to meet my little naked baby boy and see him one day running around this small apartment with sounds of laughter and delight.



naked is the point
just trying to figure out where i am. feeling a little vertigo. i used to simply love nyc because it was home. life appeared to be more simple then. now i love nyc just because i can’t stand the jersey suburbs. it’s like that old commercial, “this is your brain. this is your brain on crack.” life in the burbs is mindnumbingly illusive. the houses, the cars, the shopping, the job, the life. this isn’t real. it’s not life. it’s a relentless hiding and covering up. it’s all chasing after the wind.

in contrast, the city is messy, complex, and yes – dark. in that way, it longs for hope. but there is a sense of hopefulness there in the midst what appears to be chaotic. you see people step in and out of light and dark spaces. their shadows embedded with their stories dancing under street lamps.

and being chinese. dang. a people who never say what they really mean. a facade of familial love for what really is simply social order. where control equals peace and harmony. feelings are stuffed. rational logic override. false humility and pretenses. hiding. truly a sleeping dragon.
truth be told, we’re all afraid. we’re afraid of each other, of being found out, our weaknesses exposed. naked, body and soul. just mere shadows of what we’re supposed to be.
at the same time we long for that release, perhaps it’s forgiveness. what we want is acceptance. it’s hard to let someone in enough to help us. what if they really see us as we are? so we turn to self help books because we may be able to do it ourselves. it’s too risky to ask for help. we try and follow a new routine. we pop pills. read more. we’re just dealing with symptoms. dammit our core is still rotting away.
love washes away fear, inviting us to be naked. on the most deepest level, love making between two partners consummates in nakedness and penetration, a mutual giving and receiving.

enters a bride, with a scarlet past. the ultimate sign of healing is her approaching the altar and there waiting for her is the groom. he knows all of her past. accepts her and is proud of her for turning from that past to be with him only, now and forevermore. she is in her white gown.
take me as i am. no more. no less.
take me home.

Goose’s wife: Hey Goose you big stud!
Goose: That’s me, honey.
Goose’s wife: Take me to bed or lose me forever.
Goose: Show me the way home, honey.

I am the only one to blame for this / Somehow it all adds up the same / Soaring on the wings of selfish pride I flew too high and like Icarus I collide / With a world I try so hard to leave behind / To rid myself of all but love to give and die

To turn away and not become / Another nail to pierce the skin of one who loves more deeply than the oceans, more abundant than the tears / Of a world embracing every heartache / Can I be the one to sacrifice / Or grip the spear and watch the blood and water flow

To love you – take my world apart / To need you – I am on my knees / To love you – take my world apart / To need you – broken on my knees
All said and done I stand alone Amongst remains of a life I should not own / It takes all I am to believe In the mercy that covers me

Did you really have to die for me? All I am for all you are
Because what I need and what I believe are worlds apart

I look beyond the empty cross forgetting what my life has cost and wipe away the crimson stains and dull the nails that still remain / More and more I need you now, I owe you more each passing hour the battle between grace and pride I gave up not so long ago / So steal my heart and take the pain and wash the feet and cleanse my pride / take the selfish, take the weak, and all the things I cannot hide take the beauty, / take my tears the sin-soaked heart and make it yours take my world all apart / take it now, take it now and serve the ones that I despise / speak the words I can’t deny / watch the world I used to love fall to dust and thrown away / I look beyond the empty cross forgetting what my life has cost / so wipe away the crimson stains and dull the nails that still remain / so steal my heart and take the pain / take the selfish, take the weak and all the things I cannot hide / take the beauty, take my tears / take my world apart, take my world apart / I pray, I pray, I pray / take my world apart

[american born chinese pastor]
seeks to be that third place for those who are american born chinese [abc] in ministry.
here we may explore issues unique to the chinese church and doing ministry in that context
expand the intersection of asian american culture and christian faith
or simply expose what goes on in the mind of this abcpastor

this may be a bit ambitious or even naiive but i do hope that through the posts we can bring together different faith communities, passions for the advancement of the Gospel and the equipping of the body of Christ.

if you are an abc pastor or have any suggestions or would like to contribute to make this space evolve, just comment.


Feed the Ego

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