Uncategorized

The Law of Failed Resolutions

The Scientific Method says that a theory becomes a law when a repeated experiment keeps yielding the same results.  With so many failed resolutions over the years, I think it’s justifiable that the Theory of Failed Resolutions has become law.

It’s not even that my resolutions are grand; I’ve even created steps and plans to accomplish goals. However, it’s a sucker punch to my self-esteem when I fail to even accomplish the first step…

Every January for the past few years, I’ve made resolutions to write more consistently, but every journal/blog I started just ended up becoming a dump for my annual mind-vomit on New Years. Even as I’m writing this post, there’s part of me that already believes it’s going to be another fruitless attempt in fulfilling my New Year’s resolution. It’s been 7 months since I’ve written in this blog and there’s a good chance that it’ll be 7 months before I write again.

Other failed resolutions I’ve had were exercising and eating healthier. It baffles me why I’m so adverse to things that are beneficial to me. Though all these things have gotten me out of depression countless times, I don’t know why I can’t seem to commit to them.

Perhaps this may all be a subconscious test of a theory that I might be a self-fulfilling anti-prophet (the opposite of whatever I say comes true, so if I have a negative outlook, positive things will happen). But more likely, I’m just hitting a lowpoint convergence of my biorhythms. My pessimism can also just be a byproduct of all the work/class stress and crap that’s been happening around the world these past few months.

I can drive myself crazy with all sorts of theories, but in the midst of all the speculation, I am glad that there is one Truth that I can hold on to.

“Then you will know the truth, and the Truth will set you free.” -John 8.32

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” – Romans 8:1-2

If Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death, then I have the utmost confidence that He can set me free from my self-destructive cycles. By being under and sustained by His grace, I can have hope that things can change, no, that I WILL change.

So thats why, once again, I start off a New Year by renewing my vows to be holistically healthy and praying for the grace-driven discipline to be consistent with my exercise (physical, mental, and spiritual), in hopes that this year will be different.

50d94-aslan_cracked_stone_table
Deeper Magic Before the Dawn of Time…
Funny Story

Baby Bread’s Favorite Book

I’ve been trying to get to know my church’s youth group better these past few months. This is a story about a girl named Baby Bread.

Baby Bread is in middle school and she hates it because it’s full of perverts. She doesn’t have many interests and hobbies so she spends most of her free time at church and reading (kids still read these days, there is hope for the future).

Me: So, what is your favorite book?

BB: Fifty Shades of Grey

The rest of table fell silent. We waited, but when we realized she wasn’t following up with a “JK/I’m just playing with you guys”:

Me:……..sooooooo, what did you like about it?

BB: It’s kind of like a historical fiction. I like historical fictions.

I know it’s wrong to assume people who grew up in the church are saints and angels, but still…12 years old is a still a bit too young to be reading a book about BDSM.

BB: I like how they vividly told stories inside the Holocaust internment camps.

Me: Wait, what book is this again?

BB: Fift- I mean, Between Shades of Grey. What’s Fifty Shades of Grey? Why does that sound so familiar?

All the Young adults at the table breathed a sigh of relief. Good thing we didn’t tell her parents that she was reading an inappropriate book. Otherwise she would’ve gotten a beating that she didn’t deserve.

One word can make a huge difference…

 

Geek

May the Fourth be With You: Luke’s Short Mourning Period

For those of you who don’t know, I am a pretty big Star Wars fan/nerd/geek (Princess Leia was the first royalty I’ve ever known). May the Fourth is a pretty special day for me. In the future, I hope to celebrate this day with my family by watching a Star Wars movie marathon of 9 movies (I better start praying that my future wife will a Star Wars fan).

A lot of movie scenes that scared me as a child leave a lasting impression. This is one of them:

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 12.24.34 AM

Luke goes back to his uncle’s moisture farm and sees it decimated along with the scorched remains of his aunt and uncle. Can you imagine seeing your home and parent figures burned down at 19 years old?

However, this year as I rewatched Episode IV, I noticed something really strange.Normally a traumatic event like this would trigger a least few tears at best or PTSD at worst. Nope, Luke just heads his head down low and simply to go with a strange old man he barely knows and follow the path of an outlawed religion.

Luke certainly was put into events that accelerated his maturity (a few hours later he loses another father figure). I understand movies were a bit different back in the 70’s, but come on at least give Luke a mourning period of sorts.

Hope

A New Hope: Internship Secured for the Summer

Monday: Interview in Brooklyn with Warrior Poets
Thursday: Email saying that I got it, asked if I could come in tomorrow
Friday: Start internship

Yesterday was a long day; I left home at 700 and got home at 2030. The commute was 2.5 hours, but thankfully they start their days at 1030. Warrior Poets is a production company founded by Morgan Spurlock, the filmmaker who did Supersize Me. I wish I could speak more about the project I’m working on for the summer, but the forced me to keep my mouth shut :X.

I’m getting paid $10 a day to do grunt work, but I’m honestly ok with that. It’s been 11 months since I graduated and this was the first sign of hope that I got. I pray that the experience I get at this internship will help me advance the gospel. Those who are reading this, please keep me in your prayers.

Funny Story

Koduk Calls for Aid

Last week, I had an interview in Concord, MA, so I decided to surprise visit some friends in Boston along the way.

My friend Koduk is a big fan of the LOtR movies; she and I have a greeting that we do when we see each other.

It was a cold, rainy Wednesday night when I arrived outside her apartment in Allston.

KD – Who is it?

Me: Gondor! Gondor calls for Aid!

The conversation above was repeated 5 times before I decided to call her cell in frustration. However none of us could hear one another through the phone so both of us just ended shouting “HELLO?! HELLO?! HELLO?!” over and over again.

It suddenly occurred to me I must’ve sounded like a maniac to strangers passing by; I was beginning to get self-conscious and embarrassed. After 8 minutes of shouting into my phone and into the buzzer, I gave up and texted her that I was downstairs.

Koduk and her roommate Ms. Igcognito were less than amused when I showed up at their door. The expressions on their face looked like they were still unnerved but on the way to relief. This is what they saw as they took a peek outside their apartment complex.

Hide yo' kids, hide yo' wives
Hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wives

The irony of it all is that Koduk almost REALLY DID call for aid (from the cops). I totally forgot that Allston was infamous for it’s sketchiness. Sadly, I don’t think she and I will be doing that greeting ever again.

I apologized for scaring the bejinkies out of them. Afterwards, we caught up over some hot tea and dried fruit. Glad it ended on good terms.

Faith

Heartlag

heart-512x512

Today was the first day of Spring. Technically, the first day of Spring was 3 weeks ago (3/20/15), but today was the first day it “felt” like it.

My heart and mind rarely seem to be on the same page. Sometimes one gets ahead of the other, but more often than not it’s usually my heart that’s lagging behind. Especially during times of sadness and depression, my heart grows heavy and loves to stay and bathe in the Pool of Self-Pity.

It’s in those times I lose sight of God’s character. I forget that He is a faithful God who stays true to His promises. No matter how I feel in the moment, that doesn’t change God’s faithfulness. I must, in faith, declare God’s promises over myself and wait for my feelings to catch up to the reality of The Truth.

So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. –John 16:22

Faith

Easter Funk

Every Easter, the my church’s YG does a 30 hour fast (Friday 12:00 – Saturday 18:00) while doing community service. I ate a very sugary brunch before the fast and suffered the consequences later that night. It was about 10 hours into the fast and I was going delirious. Gamgee was preaching and recounting the death of Jesus.

And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way. – Matthew 27:39-44

I started wondering why Jesus didn’t just bust himself off that cross. I could imagine Jesus’s tempted to respond to them and be like:

Bro, do you even lift your gains on high?

(If you know me, you know that I love to break out in song, especially when I’m not thinking straight). The image of that derailed me and kept me really unfocused in my prayers during prayer time.


An empty stomach and a hard surface made it really difficult to sleep Friday night, so my mind began to wander. I revisited a few unanswered question that I had during my non-christian years:

  • Why didn’t Jesus just take himself off from the cross?
  • Why did he suffer for ~3 hours? Couldn’t he have let go of his life the moment he was nailed to cross?
  • I know that God is love. But why does He love us?

As I started tumbling down the tunnel of doubt, the Lord countered my questions with one of His own:

“Do you believe that I love you?”

Instinctively, I wanted to retort, “Of course, you know I already do.” But as I began to voice them aloud, the words froze in my throat: both He and I knew how little conviction those words had.

He asked me again, “Do you believe that I love you?

This time, I was slow to respond. The truth is, I already knew the answer, but how do you tell the Lord of the Universe (even after you professed and sang His love in front of many witnesses) that you doubt His love?

He knows me too well. Instead of leaving me high and dry, He hit me with a zinger:

“Don’t believe me? Just watch”

Well played, that was smooth(er than a fresh jar of SKIPPY). First, I just realized that was one of the few times I knew for sure that the voice inside my head was from God. There was no flashes of lightning or rolls of thunder, but there was a sense of assurance; a peace that granted me the first night of sound sleep in a while. The joy from that moment was enough to sustain me for the rest of the fast and I was able to spill some of it to the special needs kids I worked with the next day.

A great part of that laughter was laughing at my own foolishness. He revealed to me how I’m such a needy and selfish lover. Even after all He has done for me and is doing for me, I’m often discontent and wanting even more. Instead of condemning me and letting me beat myself up in shame and guilt, He showers me with even more love and grace.

I know that this isn’t going to be the last time I’m going to doubt His love, but I also know that this isn’t the last time He finds a way to WOW me with a display of his love.

God loves you, Hallelujah! WOOOO
(x4)

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philiippians 4:7

Uncategorized

Jesus Loves You

3 months ago (12/21/14), I said these 3 words to one of my friends. Later on in the conversation, I told him, “You just have to believe and receive His love.” In my 3.5 years of knowing Christ, that was the first time I’ve ever said that.

However, I had a sick feeling the moment those words parted my mouth. It’s that feeling you get when someone tells a really off-color joke, or says “Moist”.

“Jesus Loves You.” 

I couldn’t believe I just said that. What’s more, I couldn’t believe I cringed when I said that.

I know I have a chronic aversion towards cliches and platitudes, but I never thought it was this bad. The fact that Jesus Loves is something beautiful. It’s beautiful because it is good, simple, and true. Yet, I hate saying it because (1) I have a tendency to overcomplicate things and (2) often have a hard time believing it.

Apart from my skepticism, another reason I hate saying Christianese Cliches is because often comes with a sense of guilt, the same sense of guilt I get when I feel like I’ve been abusing God’s grace.

My revulsions are merely symptoms of a greater problem: fear. In this particular instance, I’m scared that if I repeat a phrase over and over again, I would forget its value and meaning. I’m afraid that these phrases would turn into Christianese Incantations that I would utter to justify myself or make myself feel better even when I’m swimming in sin. So in my fear of abusing the phrases, I just end up abstaining from saying them.

Abba revealed to me recently that despite my intentions, this is in fact an prideful act of a rebellious heart. I have a hardened heart that says “I’m too good for His grace and love” His grace is more than sufficient to cover my reckless abuse of grace.

[God] wants a child’s heart, but a grown up’s head – Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis 

Ultimately the renewal of the mind and the transformation of the heart is something only God can do. On my part, I feel that the transformation of the heart takes a lot more time and work than the mind. I know I have many doubts and my faith waivers, but I pray that God molds my heart into one like a child’s.

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – James 1:4

I pray for a day that I can say the Apostle’s Creed, “I will pray for you.”, and “Jesus Loves You” without cringing.

Uncategorized

Frozen Heart

I just got back from a vacation with my parents to my to Zhangzhou. I’ll share a bit about my trip there in later posts. After spending 3 weeks in China, I almost forgot how much I hated the cold; the winter in my Chinese hometown is comparable to autumn in Boston. Alas, I was welcomed back to the United States by a foot of ice covering my driveway.

Shoveling snow is one thing, but shoveling ice is a pain in the back (literally). With powdery snow, I can usually just push my shovel down the driveway like a lawnmower. A metal shovel was not enough to chip away at the ice; I had to bring out a pickaxe to break the ice. Controlling the power of each swing was no easy task; I had to make sure that I didn’t damage the driveway. I understand why the dudes from the opening number in Frozen were so jacked.

I felt elated when my dad came outside, I thought he was going to help relieve some of my burden. However, much to my dismay, he came out just so he can take pictures to send to his friends on WeChat. The only help I got was a little heat from from the afternoon sun.

Progress after 3 hours
After 3 hours…

After 6 painstaking hours, I finished clearing the driveway. On the plus side, the fatigue fixed my jet lag in a day. Before I crashed, I mulled over a few musings from the whole experience:

  1. I’m seriously out of shape
  2. Shorter people are better at swinging pickaxes. Due to their low center of gravity, they expend less energy than taller people. No wonder Dwarves are known for mining.
  3. A frozen heart takes a long time to thaw.

The frozen heart archetype is used frequently in movies (even in Real Life, I’m sure all of us know of at least 1 person whom we can describe as a cold-hearted witch). Just as with training periods, the heart-thawing process is often fast-forwarded. For example, the Beast has a change of heart after he and Belle has a snowball fight and feeds some birds. There are some movies where the process spans the whole length of the movie, but even so, it takes longer than 2 hours to thaw a frozen (or hardened) heart. A more accurate description would be the Age of Winter in Narnia which lasted 100 years (although 100 years in Narnia is probably a second in our world)

I’d say I’ve developed a hardened heart over the past few months (a byproduct of holding on to bitterness). Even worse, I’m in denial about it half the time. When I’m not in denial, I beat myself up for being bitter and not understanding why I can’t let go. I’m an impatient person and I wish I had the power to just purge all the bitterness out of my system in one go. I know I should be trusting in God’s timing and process, but I tend to get frustrated at how much slower it is than I imagined.

In these times of frustration, I have to remind myself of God’s character. I trust that God is patient with me, even especially when I’m not. He is steadfast in mercy. And for that I am grateful

Uncategorized

2015: A Year of Wonder

Happy New Year! I just got back from the OneThing conference at IHOPKC.

How I decided to go to OneThing was a story in itself. I was catching up with a sister that I haven’t seen in over a year (she was in NYC for an interview). I mentioned to her that I was going through a hip-hop resurgence in my life. Very recently, I’ve been having encounters with the artists from The Fearless Tour

  • AMP at a KCCC Missions fundraising event
  • MC Jin at a Kollaboration meet and greet
  • NAK in a League of Legends match

She told me that she was going to OneThing with a group that included Mickey Cho asked me if I would be interested in coming along. I had to decide fast since she only gave me a 12 hour deadline. After reading some of his blog and learning how he’s in charge of Creative Ministries at his church, I got the sense that he may have wrestled with some of the same issues that I’ve been going through. I wanted to meet him and seek his counsel.

I remember feeling very anxious at the time, worrying that I might have made an erroneous impulsive decision. Now that it’s all over, I’m glad I went.

I’m mad exhausted and I still need time to digest all the experiences from a dense 4 day retreat, but here are a few very clear lessons off the top of my head:

  • I don’t pray enough: after seeing the lifestyles of the intercessors and the 24/7 prayer room, I know that I heavily discounted the power of prayer
  • It’s not that my desires for Worldly things are too strong, but my desires for God is too small: I’m still trying to grasp this, but I’ve heard on 2 separate accounts this same exact line.

Recently, I visited Remnant Westside for the first time. P. Bruce spoke about Sarah and how she scoffed when she was told that she was going to have a child. Her heart has become hardened after years of disappointment and gave up hope on having a child. She forgot what it meant to be in awe of God.

I realized how calloused my own heart has been. When was the last time I was awestruck by God? So many times, I tell myself that I’ve somehow figured God out, that the patterns in my life has become predictable. Blinded by pride, I’ve forgotten who God is as I’m walking in the wilderness:

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

The theme for this year is going to be WONDER.  This year, I want to remember that He is faithful to his promises, that he is making a NEW THING IN THE WILDERNESS (ISAIAH 43:19).

I want to remember what it feels like to be in wonder and awe of God again.10445455_10153493766201040_1897071267300743075_n