Pizza & Passion

I’m currently reading one of John Maxwell’s books entitled, “The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader – Becoming the Person Others Will Want to Follow” (thanks to a good friend for giving this book).  Past days, I was reading the chapter about the importance of Passion. Maxwell shared the story of how Papa John’s Pizza started and grew.  Maxwell describes the owner as, “John Schnatter not only eats Papa John’s Pizza; he breathes, sleeps and lives it.” The success of Papa John’s Pizza is because of passion.

As I continued to read, it made me ask myself what is the one thing that I am really passionate about? What is the one thing that I am willing to spend hours and hours to do it? What is it that I specifically accomplish that gives me a sense of fulfillment? Sounds cliche, right? But it’s a question that most of us are really finding it hard to answer.

As I thought about it, I realized there is one consistent thing that I always enjoy doing and is always present in all phases of my life – teaching/coaching/mentoring.

I remember when I was in grade school, I would play pretend as a teacher of an imaginary class. When I was in high school, I remember I did tutorials to some of my classmates. When I was in college, I volunteered teaching kids on a Saturday as well as did tutorials for Korean students. I also tutored my younger brother on his Math. When I started working and grew in my career, I learned and enjoyed coaching/mentoring people in my team. Currently, I volunteer on some Sundays to teach kids during Sunday school. As part of my ministry, I’ve been doing discipleship with group of single women that allows me to encourage and mentor them as we all grow together in our walk with God.

I believe God has cultivated in my life to have a heart for people’s growth. If there’s one thing I can see myself really being patient – it is on people who are willing to learn and grow.  However, this so-called passion that I think I have is something I still haven’t really thought about deeply. I just know that I enjoyed coaching people at work or teaching kids but the pattern since I was young never occurred to me until recently.

This is something I really have to think through in the coming days, weeks, months. I must stop ignoring and really start not just thinking but also praying and seeking wisdom on how I can pursue it with an end goal in mind.

As Schnatter’s philosophy goes, “Concentrate on what you do well and do it better than anybody else.”

Also, just like Jesus when He was here on earth. He is the perfect example of what it means to pursue your passion. He never got off tracked of what He needed to do. He did the one thing that was expected of Him. And because of that, His passion (suffering) and resurrection made way for us to have the hope of a new life and be reconciled with God.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17

How about you? What are you willing to suffer and spend long hours at night? What is the one thing that excites you and you will never get tired of doing?

A conceptual image representing a focus on passion

Behind the Scene

One of the blessings I will forever be grateful to God is to have the gift of administration (1 Corinthians 12:28).  Having this gift has allowed me to take responsibilities that I didn’t know I am capable of doing, not just for the church but even at my work place or in my own personal day to day life. The credit all goes to God for entrusting me to do all types of work that He has been preparing me to do.

And do you know what’s great about this gift? It allows you to see what’s happening behind the scene. You get the privilege to see how God works and makes things happen.

Last weekend (June 9-11), our church (CCF Vancouver) went for our first ever church retreat focused on intentional discipleship. Our church leaders asked me to help in organizing the retreat, and as always, it is a privilege for me. No better way to use my time than doing things for the Lord.

When you plan for an event, your enemy is perfection. Of course, you want everything to go as you expect it to be, that includes the things that you can’t even control like weather. But just like any event I have helped organized, not everything we planned went smoothly. That’s why it is very important for me to always let the Holy Spirit lead me. It is not easy when you want to be in control of the flow. But God was not just at work for the event, He was also at work with my heart.

By God’s grace, I learned to submit and recognize the authority of the leaders of the church. As we did planning, there were disagreements but I always reminded myself that God gives wisdom to our leaders to make the right decisions as the Spirit led them. So, if I have to adjust schedules of the event, I must submit. I tell you, it’s never easy.

By God’s grace, I learned to say no to activities that will take my time to focus on planning. Weeks before the camp, I had to free up my weekdays after work so that I can work on preparations for the camp. I had to turn down invitations. It was not easy but I am no superwoman. I can only do much for a day.

By God’s grace, I learned to be more patient. During the last days before the camp, there were so many last minute changes and concerns which some required coordination back and forth. These things were inevitable. And all I can do was to ask God to just sustain me and give me the right heart. It wasn’t easy.

God showed to me that despite my lack of and my weaknesses, He can accomplish great things because it is His work. All His doing.

When the sunny forecast months before turned to a heavy rain forecast weeks before the event, we kept praying. God heard our prayer! We never experienced rain all throughout the weekend. Even if the forecast for the day showed potential rain, rain did not come. We were able to enjoy our outdoor activities, our baptism  and our camp fire fellowship. Only God can do that.

Weeks before the camp, as I was finalizing room assignments, I had some challenges. All I did was really pray that everyone will find their accommodation comfortable. Then, last minute changes happened which surprisingly helped resolve the challenges I had. A family has to cancel because of a sad news that they had to leave the country on the day of the retreat. God reminded me that indeed He is the one who could only appoint people to be in a certain place, event and time.  With that incident, God showed me how He can use something unfortunate into something good for His work. He cares about the details.

God also provided us a beautiful venue for the retreat – Camp Charis.  It’s not just the place but also the people who worked at Camp Charis. They were very accommodating with our last minute requests. I saw God working through them. Everything we needed, they were able to provide. Only God can do that. Indeed, no one can hamper His plans.

When we had our second round of baptism, we thought we will not be able to use the pool when we changed our time. Nothing can stop the work of God. The group who reserved to use the pool decided not to use it as they had to leave immediately at that time. Just amazing! To add, there were 7 people who planned to be baptized but it turned into 17 people including our NxtGen Kids! Amazing!

One of my favorite to witness behind the scene was the work of the volunteers. On the day of the event, all I did was coordination. The volunteers were the ones who were doing things in action. They used their gifts, talents and skills for God’s work.  There is no big or small gift, talent or skill.  All are needed to do the work of God. And it’s just amazing to see and discover potentials of people.

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another… Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.” (1 Peter 4:10-11)

I can not put into this blog everything I experienced with God behind the scene. In every little detail, He was there.  It was a Spirit-filled retreat. And my prayer, that retreat would leave marks in the lives of all who were there to cause them to act to the purpose of why they were in that retreat in the first place. And that is to pursue INTENTIONAL DISCIPLESHIP. Same prayer goes to myself.

To God be the glory!!!

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 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

Struggle of a Discipler

My heart was troubled for the past days. This got triggered when I learned something about someone so dear to me. It somehow broke my heart for the fact that she did not tell me about it immediately when she has been open to me about a lot of things. And also, the fact that she pursues something that somehow I thought she would be wiser and spiritually mature enough to make such choice.

Three important things that God is teaching me these past days.

One – this circumstance made me reflect on how I should be as a discipler. I went back to the One who started it all. How was Jesus as a discipler? How was Jesus when He knew that Judas would betray Him? When Peter would deny Him? When the disciples hid and ran away? All of these did not stop Jesus to love them and all the more He prayed for them. I got reminded (not the first time) of how I have to let go the people that God has entrusted me to disciple. Let go, meaning not to stop discipling them but to let God take care of them when they choose certain things which we might think would not be good for them.

Second – this also reminded me of God’s heart. I realize that if my heart aches for my disciples when they choose to do things that are not in obedience to God, God’s heart who has the perfect standard must be aching more for all of us when we do things that are not pleasing to Him.

Lastly – it also made me reflect being a disciple. I realize that I, myself also do not tell everything to my discipler. It could be that I feel like I am not doing anything wrong or I could be scared that I might get judged or I just don’t feel the need of telling. And probably, the girls I disciple are also feeling the same thing that’s why they don’t tell me the things that I thought they would tell me. For whatever reason, I must learn to respect and just continue trusting God who knows the deepest of their hearts.

Overall, I am humbled. God reminded me that the most important that I can do for the girls I disciple are to love them and pray for them. I am also truly grateful for the disciplers that God has used to help me in my walk with Him. I am thankful that they allowed me to depend not on them but on God alone.

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.  As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. (Jesus’ prayer for the disciples – John 17)

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Growing Together

I’m so blessed to be a part of other people’s lives by seeing them grow in their walk with God. As we say we are Christian, we must then believe that we are also commanded to make disciples just like what Jesus did with the chosen twelve. And to be a disciple and to make disciple is a privilege in our Christian walk. It must not be a burden for us but a joy as we experience God’s transforming power in our lives.

And being part of a discipleship group is never boring. It’s a great time of knowing the Lord deeper, knowing one another deeper, encouraging and praying for each other. It’s a venue where you can be yourself without fear of being judged. You get to travel together, do fun things together. And the other best part – there is always food! Haha!

I’m glad to be a part of a discipleship group. If you are not part of any, I hope you would start stepping out of your comfort zone and start reaching out. As our senior pastor said, (reason for not joining a discipleship group) if you think you don’t need help, then, be the one to give help. And I totally agree! Today, someone might need your encouragement, your blessing, your prayer. Don’t miss out on such a privilege!

It’s getting COLD

Aside from the weather, I think I’m getting cold towards writing. I haven’t written anything for more than a month! And nothing is coming out at all. No thoughts, no ideas, no nothing. And now I kinda miss it. Which is a good thing.

A lot has been happening especially at work. Project demands all at the same time. But work is good. I still get to go home early and I don’t need to bring work at home. So, it’s really good.

I’ve been having my weekly discipleship group with amazing girls. Just being with teenagers makes me appreciate more the kind of discipline my parents had brought to us when I was their age especially on education. And I’ll be forever grateful to my parents for that.

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Aside from that, I’ve been helping out in our Kid’s Ministry which I really enjoy. The kids at church are totally awesome. They know so much about the Word of God even at their very young age (4-6). Kudos to the parents! Indeed, learning about God should start at home. And these kids just bring out the little child in me. Games, games and more games!

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I had the privilege as well to volunteer at a Soup Kitchen in First Baptist Church in Vancouver downtown. Every Tuesday, volunteers would come to help prepare meal that will be served to the homeless people. It’s truly an opportunity to show care to the community and hopefully share God’s love to these people who need not just physical food but also spiritual food that lasts.

And, I have a new goddaughter! Beautiful and precious baby girl. Her name is Skye Angela. I’m so honored to be asked to be her godparent.

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So why am I telling these things? Sometimes, I just have to put some major happenings in my life to writing just to remind me that even if I can’t have everything I wanted, God continues to give what’s best for me. And I can never find any reason to complain because regardless of what I have or what I do or where I am, God is my reward. He satisfies me. He is enough.

One milestone I have this week is I’ve decided that I will stop waiting. I’ve been praying that someday God would bring me to that person that He has prepared for me. But then I realized, I got too focused on waiting for that. It’s kinda exhausting to wait for something that is really uncertain. With that, I have decided to stop waiting and to just purely trusting God on what He has for me today and tomorrow. And because of that decision, I actually feel better because now I’m more focused on what I can do with God and for God and for other people. I’m done waiting on uncertain things.

I’m going to live this life BIG for God! Now, I’m praying that God would really use me or make me usable in helping share the gospel especially to those who haven’t heard it at all. I’m currently reading this book of Bill Hybels, “Just Walk Across the Room” and I am so encouraged especially about personal evangelism. I realize how important relationship building truly is especially in this culture. You just can’t approach somebody and shove to his face the Bible. It will never work. I realized that God would really provide opportunities for us either we plant the seed, or help that seed grow. Whichever phase God would use on that specific person’s walk, it is just a matter of obedience for us to do it.

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With this, I’m excited that God would really give me such opportunities to be able to help someone know more about Him.

As I say, I’m going to live BIG for God! Pray for me 🙂

“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.”  Matthew 9:37

“I am your great reward.” – God  Genesis 15:1