Two consecutive daily entries. I am not trying to take on a role of a "Xanga Preacher" but I want to share some thoughts that are heavy on my heart.
It's a slow day at work so I had a chance to look over some articles on current situations in New Orleans. I have to admit that I was pretty oblivious to this tragedy. Reading about some real stories and seeing these painful pictures broke my heart to see that there are people that are struggling to live another day while I am casually going about my day.
For days many have been without adequate electricity, sanitation, or food supplies while waiting to be rescued. Inside the Astro Superdome, which has been converted as a relief center, people speak of the pervading stench of human waste. There are dead bodies scattered around its area. Many are stranded in fear and hopelessness.
It's very sad that in the midst of this tragedy, we see ugliness of the human heart - expressed in different acts of selfishness: looting, assaults, and rape.
Many complaints were made about the relief efforts but the reality is that authorities were woefully unprepared for the relief of such numbers.
Two Thoughts come to my mind:
1) In my Church History class, Dr. Lamkin spoke about how Christianity spread very rapidly in the 1st century. There were many factors that were involved - Preaching of the Gospel, Roman roads that were well developed for trade routes, working of miracles, and etc.
But one of the most effective witness was Christians simply loving and helping their neighbors - without receiving anything in return. Christians took in abandoned female orphans. When there were disastrous plagues and people left the town for safety, Chrstians stayed behind to provide aid for the sick. Their acts of selfless giving was offered to all, who were in need. These early believers loved their neighbors.
2) God is faithful. I do not have a mind to understand how God works sovereingly in this world. But we can be sure of His will (that He desires all men to be saved) and His heart (that He would give up his only son to save the world). I need to see His loving hand that will cause this "smaller" brokenness to bring about His redemptive plan that will save the humanity from the true brokenness.
Let's make sure to act out in mercy- through prayers and giving - during this time.
I do feel somewhat bad that I am in this stalking / "Hey I want to get to you" mode for past couple days with our new small group. I realized that I can be somewhat overwhelming.
So far, I sent about 5 emails to the whole group, Entered everyone's phone number into my cell, Subscribed to everyone's xanga and left a comment, Added folks to my AIM list. And so on.
I know that I have hard times easing into things. I've gotten better about thinking ahead before making a decision. But when I think it's the right choice/action, I jump right in - head first.
It seems like our group is all over the place - lots of different folks at different places in life. I am not sure how we'll come together as a group. Mikey Park predicted that Yoshi & Joel will become good buddies by the end of the year. I have hard time seeing this but I totally thought about these two when I saw the picture above. I am def. excited for this group.
As P. Min once said it during Easter weekend, there were unique strange alliances formed under the foot of the cross (referring to different people that were gathered during the crucifixion of Christ). I am praying that FP4 will build these Christ-centered relationships this year.
[ FP4 Men - missing Aaron ]
[FP4 Gals - missing Glory & Jenny]
BTW, I think my 6 yr old digital camera is becoming too ancient. Pictures don't come out they way it should!
How do you measure success after a full day of MINI-O?
Is it measured by the number of medals that you win?
Probably not. Last year, our group (Zion's & Mine) won 30+ pts. But I doubt anyone remembers that.
It would have been nice to win it all this year and bring home the trophy to FARPAR area, but I believe that the best team won it - CFC Youth Group.
"So see to it that you really do love each other intensely with all your hearts." ~ 1 Peter 1:22 (NLT)
Before the day of Mini-O, this was our vision - that we'll experience the meaning of the word "INTENSITY". So that we can learn to love one another through that passion. And through His grace, we experienced it.
Most of all, I am thankful that we were united to give our best to the Lord.
I was a bit skeptical about these girly green bracelets, but I think I am emotionally attached to them now. It's hanging up in my car.
FP4's Adorable Ladies
FP4's Men "Chunins"
Our Group after 4 Seasons
Mikey's little accident. Our practice time began by Tobe peeing on Mikey's lap.
David getting shocked. Nice Hair!
JenJen. A Dog Lover.
Yoshi & Joel Bonding. They're making our leaf-protectors (Naruot fans?)
Glory & Michelle making our infamous FP4 flag
"From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." ~ Luke 12:48
I am beginning to realize how much God has entrusted to FP4 this year. It's an overwhelming assignment & a great privilege at the same time. I am very thankful for these guys: Joanne & Mikey. I don't think I can ask for a better team that can stand and fight shoulder to shoulder to feed God's sheep.
It seems like all of my xanga entries are either about people or food. So I will stick with this theme for today's entry. I am in between projects at work at this moment, so this will be a long entry. But I will make sure that it will be rewarding for you to read.
Past three nights, starting Saturday, I had some fantastic dinners with some old friends. And when I say old, we're old - both in our age and relationships. Each of the night, I enjoyed meal & company to their fullest and I left thinkg "It just doesn't get better than this."
It was really good to see these guys because I haven't see all of them together in awhile. We all grew up in same home church and we've been through a lot. One thing I can say about my Asbury friends are that they are completely loyal to one another - through ups & downs of life. If you're going to a war, you probably want friends like these next to you.
It was a short night for me. And I ended up driving back to Champaign after dinner. I am definitely the weakest link in this group of friends. We do have different perspectives in life, so sometimes, we don't see things eye to eye. But many times, I do lack care & commitment in our friendship.
BTW, If you like Mediterranean food, Reza is a place to go. I think my yuppie side was coming out that night, because I really enjoyed a fine dining experience with a great ambiance.
When I say endless Galibi, I mean endless Galbi. Man it was so good. This group of people has much history with one another. It's kinda sick to think about how many different connection we have.
Whenever Sue & I get together, we always talk about all of my mishaps as her co-servant. It's very humbling. One thought comes to my mind - Grace of God. Here're some memories:
1) 1st Semester Morning PrayersSue made me go to MP to pray for our small group every day of the week. I made it to most of them, but I seriously don't remember anything about it.
2) Leaving Lester behindIt was a revival weekend and we had our service at an off-campus location. That year, we had about 6 freshmen in our ISR small group, which is unusual. Anyhow after a blessing night of revival, I drove all the members home and I came back to my dorm room. On my answering machine, I had two voice mails: one from P. Milo and another from Sue. Messages went something like this.
P.Milo: "Umm.. Jim? This is pastor Milo. I was driving home from the revival and I picked up one of your freshmen member Lester. He told me that you left him and he was walking home by himself. Please take care of your small group members. Beep"
Sue: "Jim!!! How can you forget Lester? We'll talk tomorrow! Beep"
3) Making a freshmen member throw up during our small group activity. After playing some game, I gave Goody a couple food related punishments. Goody hit his limit because he threw up for 5 mins straight. Let's just say spirit of fellowship was extinguished after that point.
4) Flying Fist during the Passion Week. This has to a very low point in my co-servant career. I won't go into details but I ended up assaulting one of my friends at the Union. There was blood on the floor and campus police came after I left. I still repent about it til this day. That night, Sue made me confess my sin to our small group - a public confession. So I did. But my small group ended up cheering for me. You should have seen the look on Sue's face.
Here're all the pictures from our dinner. For some crazy reason, Kenny Kim didn't bring his camera so these pictures lacking in quality & numbers:
This was my first visit to Jenny & John's place. I was amazed by how gorgeous their place was. It wasn't so much that they had expensive furniture or decorations, because they bought most of their stuff at bargain places & garage sales. But the place felt like it was home - just right. Jenny's an awesome home maker and I think she tops Martha Stewart now - except for her sewing.
Highlight of the night was our conversation that took place at the outdoor patio. It was a perfect night for some guys talk. So for obvious reasons, the content of our conversation will not be stated here.
Except for this one. Whenever I get together with these two, they always end up talking about my heart motive. For some crazy odd reason, these two think that my heart motive is a "Perfect Me" with a strong relationship standard. So whenever I hear this claim, I am in shock & disbelief - like a kid who's been told by his parents that he was adopted. I am so certain that my heart motive is "Love Me." If any guys are telling me this, I will just blow it off. But these two aren't just any guys. They're the finest minds that our CFC '94 class has produced. So I try to listen to them.
So we talked and analyzed about everything. In defense of my "Love-me" heart motive, I ended up sharing about my deepest darkest sinful motives to them and I am sure they enjoyed every bit of it. But I enjoyed it too - that I can freely share my about heart without fears or worries.
I am blessed to be surrounded with people like these.
Another long entry. I think this is my way of dealing with my lack of human interaction at the office. I hope my desktop computers & servers don't get jealous. I am currently surrounded by 3 physical desktop, 1 Mac Powerbook (Woot!) & 2 virtual machines
This morning, I was in our office kitchen filling my mug with some fresh brewed but horrible tasting coffee. Then I noticed an older lady "Jane", next to me, pouring hot water into a white styrofoam cup filled with an unknown brown substance. Out of curiosity, I asked her what was in it.
Instead of simply answering my question, she told me it was an instant pack of apple cinnamon raisin oat meal and she took me by my arm and took me into her office. She introduced me to her office mates and she gave me one of her oat meal packages. Man... I felt loved. I think one of my love languages is "receiving food." If I was a character in OT, I might have sold my birth right for a plate of Galbi and a bowl of sulungtang. I have a special relationship with/through food.
Am I just hyping up a bunch of stories to write a xanga entry? Maybe. But let me share some examples:
Example #1: Eating at Dorcas BTW, did you know that Dorcas was originally named after a character in the Bible?This place is like my second home. I definitely purchased the most number of meals from this restaurant than any others. Food's definitely good & well priced.
But the biggest reason I go back again and again is their TLC. You will notice that when you go to Dorcas with me, you will receive either more food, free soda, duck (korean pastry), or all three. I am not 100% sure why I am receiving this special treatment, but I would like to believe that they care about me.
Example #2: Cooking for Others & Asking for Home Cooked MealWith my hectic schedule, I rarely cook anymore. I remember I used to cook about ~ 4/7 dinners when I used to work up in Chicago. These days when I do cook, I only make it for others to show my care.
I also realized that I ask very few people to cook for me. Because I can always find good Korean food via example #1 or I can make it myself. So when I ask for a home cooked meal, I am actually asking for that time of connection with people. Pretty wierd huh?
I partially blame this phenomenon on my dad. Growing up, I received a fair amount of whoopings/physical disciplines from my dad. IMHO, I deserved some, but there are cases, I was punished beyond what I deserved! During my senior year in high school, my dad finally explained his strict Korean style of parenting. He basically told me that since I was an only child, he didn't want me to turn out selfish & spoiled, so he excessively reinforced this belief with various methods of pain. I think I would preferred to have a younger sister or a brother. =P
Anyhow, there are times (actually most of the time), my dad would feel bad about harsh physical disciplines that he dished out. During those times, he would ask me "What do you like to eat tomorrow for dinner?" (FYI, my dad cooks in our family and he's really good.) So the next day, I would see my dad coming home early to cook for me and I ended up eating a great feast - like Galbi Jeem, Gohmtang, Suishi, Maewoontang, etc. No Pain No Good Food? So growing up, I tied my dad's caring affection with receiving good food.
His sheep: FP4. Right now, there's nothing more rewarding in my life than to see these guys being fed. At the office today, I got a series of emails from our small group. It was about how our Dorm guys appreciated the last night's home cooked meal, few wanted to give up their IDs so that Apartment folks could go eat at FatDon's today. FYI, Apt people can no longer be flexed into FatDon's. I know it's just a dinner at FatDon's, but I was touched.
I know... I talk about our small group a lot - making them sound like they're the greatest. Well in my book, they are. But at the same time, I know that we - all of us - are pretty messed up in many ways. I won't go into details. Yet I can't deny the changes that are taking place in our group. Fruits are being born.
John 15:5 - "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
This verse has been consistently coming up this past month and I am left with two thoughts. First, it tells me that as a worker of God, I can not accomplish a single spiritual task, unless I am connected to Him. Second, it also tells me that behind every spiritual fruit, Jesus is the source for that result. He IS in the midst of us. Always Working. Feeding His Sheep.
I pray that folks (and visitors) at U of I will have a time of feasting through this upcoming revival. Dude I feel like MrKoolAid17 writing this long entry. I need to be more like KennyKimDotCom to receive them eprops.