Black Friday got me thinking…

Here’s the dialogue:

“No!, I don’t want to buy it! It’s cheaper than the other shoes.”

Phil: “But Sejin, those are really good basketball shoes, maybe even better than the more expensive ones.”

Mom: “Listen to Phil, and listen to me. I like those shoes. Why do you have to choose more expensive ones?”

Here’s the explanation:

I developed an insatiable desire to consume the most expensive materialistic things when I was young. For some reason, this behavior satisfied a temporary hunger- a hunger that I couldn’t grasp- through words or through logical reason (‘Sejin, you didn’t buy the cheaper and better basketball shoes.’) I did not want a thrifty, yet valuable item. I wanted the lavish, yet cheap item. My heart was empty; I was empty.

Cherishing Jesus back then was like trying to give a pomegranate seed a great big bear hug. His presence was minuscule. Any squeeze would have produced a juice stain and not the stain of His blood on my outer garment. In 4th grade, my friend Johnny, invited me to church. This Sunday ritual was going to postpone my StarCraft havoc from 10-1 pm and resume afterwards. It wasn’t a big deal. More excitingly, I was going to be introduced to new element- a “Jesus” that my parents never talked about, a “church” community that my parents never suggested, and “free food” that my parents never craved. I would enjoy the services, but then dreaded spilling the “I have to go” comments that made my friends a bit disappointed. Actually, I was furious. I wanted community because I’d be sent back home – to a place that reeked presence and friendship. My mom’s support for a “Jesus” was “See, I told you not to go today. Your upset.” It took a long time for me to be nurtured in His nature.

I think my foolish and poor consumer choices stopped in 9th grade. But that doesn’t mean that I hadn’t gained a different sinful habit until I was born again. On the verge of my 21st December season, I seek a world that is eternal. Back then, I enjoyed Black Friday more than Thanksgiving, and enjoyed the world more than His kingdom. But today, I can confidently declare that I have no more Black Fridays ahead of me, only Good  Fridays- He’s turned my fear and regrets into freedom.

The Best Fighter

Pacquiao vs. Marquez III’s fight portrayed a different script than its “THE END” conclusion.

I thought it was just Hollywood, but sometimes the true victor’s arm isn’t raised with a crowd’s salute of “Well done”. Instead, what I saw was the valor and incredibly intelligent game-plan of Marquez fold under the shear weight of menacing bigotry- the belief that the ride of a well-known bandwagon never approaches a stop sign, but that for some reason, it’s not that Pacquaio ignored the stop sign, but it’s the people pushing the bandwagon that ignore its influence in a 4 way intersection. Who were these people?
It beats me, but they probably had ‘cash moneysssss’.

HONK! HONK!

“You don’t deserve to be first!”

There is one script that never changes its course.

His script is a mighty and heart-clenching embrace that kindly asks us, “Are you ready?”

When Glam fluttered my name to seek a new song, I did choose a new song –Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord, God Almighty”. The world promotes to take victory away from the one who never whimpered while wearing a crown of thorns and who never staggered in defeat. He was the Son of God who found liberty while mounted on the Cross- it was then that He recited all our names and His plan for us; He never once used His supernatural gifts to cease the wind from harking, or the bitter, skin biting weather from its cold madness, or the brows on his face from returning to its humane color, but it was His will to restore us back to the one true love that relentlessly called us to relationship and worship.

In His kingdom, there is no surprise. God is ‘Yahweh’, ‘King’, ‘Lord’, ‘Alpha’, ‘Omega’. The title belongs to Him. He won, He deserves it.

Reflaxion

“What in the world is weaker than the bruised reed, or the smoking flax? A reed that groweth in the fen or marsh, let but the wild duck light upon it, and it snaps; let but the foot of man brush against it and it is bruised and broken; every wind that comes howling across the river makes it shake to and fro, and well nigh tears it up by the roots. You can conceive of nothing more frail or brittle, or whose existence depends more upon circumstances that a bruised reed. Then look at smoking flax—what is it? It has a spark within it, it is true, but it is almost smothered; an infant’s breath might blow it out; or the tears of a maiden quench it in a moment; nothing has a more precarious existence than the little spark hidden in the smoking flax.

Your strength is vanity, your power is a delusion, your might is a lie—for however much you may boast in what you can do, it shall pass away; when you come to the real contest with death, you shall find that you have no strength to grapple with it: when one of these days of strong temptation shall come, it will take hold of you, moral man, and down you will go; and the glorious livery of your morality will be so stained, that though you wash your hands in snow water, and make yourselves never so clean, you shall be so polluted that your own clothes shall abhor you. I think it is a blessed thing to be weak. The weak one is a sacred thing; the Holy Ghost has made him such.”

 

Lord, 

I am blessed not because of my physical stature, but because you want my heart to mirror your soul. If being a bruised reed is what it takes to spread kingdom culture like wildfire then mold me to be weaker than before- weaker among the trees of the world, but stronger in your habitat.

Surge-Pulse Teachers

After 20 years of deepening my roots as a Sunday christian, God broke the veil once again. He gave me a new found place in Him and among faithful servant leaders.

Serving as a youth teacher has served multiple purposes- all have given me new perspective. While ego and pride tempts me to lean the other way, God’s weightiness launches the catapult and throws me back in the right setting; His presence is richer than hardened caramel glazing over an unbruised and pH perfect granny smith apple. 

Every worship, conversation, and meeting has been special, teachers. Let’s continue to edify one another.

PGinna: For two years, “Gina” was saved on my phone. Then one day, I heard some random noise fluttering the real truth: that your name contained another alphabet. “Huh, where?” I asked. Hence, the correction was made. I’m so blessed to see your servant-leader mentality strengthen in your pastoral journey. Evidently, you have a colonoscopy everyday. In other words, you clean your vessel and rejoice in the Lord daily. I’m so blessed to see such a hungry and holy-touchdown driven pastor lead our youth into His open door.

Jenny: You know how to measure kids. You know their tendencies and have such a knack to lead wholesome reflection/discussion time with them. You drive any innocence that they have towards glorifying God. It’s awesome to see such a natural born leader.

Whan: Your humility is sometimes a better testament of God’s work than His joy in preparing the next day’s sunrise. I love how you push forward, and show His kingdom more than your own. You are an example of prostrate worship before the Lord.

Linda: I enjoy following your footsteps: finishing school in 3 years and preparing for the LSAT. More importantly, I enjoy following your passion and motivation for the Lord. You are warm and set an example of higher parameter: how we’re truly supposed to glorify God.

Laura: I have never seen a laugh more precious or joy-filled than your laugh. It’s such a wake-up call for me to see you enjoy and abide in the little things. You precisely take every detail and show that His glory can be shown through the smallest openings. In addition, you use His breath to ornament a sincere worship.

Jimmy: Welcome to the ship that never stops sailing: discipleship within youth group. I have so much to learn from you as well. Thanks for your touch and affection. God’s doing such amazing things to you this year! (Cal Arts and now becoming a servant leader). Keep up His presence!

Matt: Do I need to say anymore? You are hilarious without you even knowing. You are genuinely a good friend and I’m sure even a better teacher.  He is the author of our faith, the creator of our jump shots, and more importantly, the radiance of our joy in all our days. Thanks for serving with me.

Paul: It’s easy to compare but clearer to contrast the old Pouty Paul with the new Passionate Paul. The comparison is that God was working in your life and still is today. The contrast is a 1000 words multiplied by the Bible. You are a changed man and I love seeing your devotion for the riches of His embrace.

Thomas: It’s weird; your mustache is unique; it doesn’t grow so close to your nose, but closer to your upper lip. SHIN GEE HAE. Every “Yeah’s” you thunder in worship pumps me up and strengthens me knowing that community is behind me. I notice that you prepare your heart for Christ in a special way: On our first new Sunday when we split up the youth group we ended late, but instead of stampeding downstairs like me to raise a “Hallelujah” for food, you lifted a “I surrender” as you sat in anticipation for His glory in our Lifestream worship.

Chan: When my non-Lifestream Christian brothers or sisters and I hang out, the sentence “our worship leader is the best ever” never fails to come out of my mouth. You have an immense vision for ultimate praise and honor for God; you spread Jesus culture wherever you are. People are blessed to be in the context of your daily whereabouts.

With that my friends, peace. See you all Friday.