Jun 272007

Tim Keller‘s new book has recently showed up at amazon.com and now you can pre-order it (yes, be among the first to get one!)::

The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism (Hardcover)
by Timothy Keller (Author)
List Price: $24.95
Price: $16.47

This title will be released on February 14, 2008.

Product Details

* Hardcover
* Publisher: Dutton Adult
* Language: English
* ISBN-10: 0525950494
* ISBN-13: 978-0525950493

[update 8/25: According to Michael Keller, Tim's son, the book title is not yet final, even though it is listed at amazon. [previous working title was "In Defense of God: Doubting Your Doubts"] Here’s the book’s Table of Contents:

Introduction – All doubts are leaps of faith

PART 1 – The Leap of Doubt

1. There can’t be just one true religion.

2. A good God could not allow suffering.

3. Christianity is a straitjacket.

4. The church is responsible for so much injustice.

5. A loving God would not send people to hell.

6. Science has disproved Christianity.

7. You can’t take the Bible literally.


PART 2 – The Grounds for Faith

8. The clues of God

9. The knowledge of God

10. The problem of sin

11. Religion and the gospel

12. The (true) story of the cross

13. The reality of the resurrection

14. The Dance of God

Epilogue – Where do we go from here?

Redeemer Presbyterian Church, pastored by Tim Keller, was recently featured in Outreach Magazine‘s Top 25 multiplying churches list. (Redeemer was ranked as “#1″, whatever that means.) The more interesting read is Dr. Warren Bird’s article, “Church in the City: Although they are different New York City churches with very different audiences, Redeemer Presbyterian and Infinity Church are part of the same multiplication equation with a product of continuous Kingdom growth” — especially the (short) interview with Keller titled, “The Genius of Church Planting.”

temporarily homeless

 journal  Comments Off
Jun 172007

We are now officially temporarily homeless. We have no home address for the next 3 weeks. We’ve started our cross country drive to move from DC to OC. We’re making a stay here in Winchester Virginia to celebrate Father’s Day and to review and refine our itinerary. Special thanks to my brother Deef [he blogs a ton about day trading] for a webcam that will provide live streaming/ broadcasting of our cross country drive.

Blogging will be paused here and migrate over to www.Coast2CoastMove.com for the next 3 weeks. Blogging should resume here after I arrive somewhere on the West Coast. Yes, we are moving without a moving truck and we’ve packed all our worldly possessions into our Xterrasee this video to see all our stuff.

Jun 152007

We set sails for the West Coast in just over 24 hours from now. As we say our farewells to people who we did manage to squeeze in one last supper with, the old adage “Time is money” doesn’t fit the new economy or the American affluence. Time is more valuable than money, and there’s just not enough to go around. We couldn’t get meal times with everyone we wanted to, although the big picnic idea last Saturday did consolidate more people together for one big farewell at one time, but not everyone could make it on that date/time.

While we’ve been packing like mad during the past couple of weeks, and aiming to move cross country without a moving truck, we did wind up having to ship a dozen or so boxes. Instead of spending time to sort and toss certain files, it saved more time (on this side of the move) to pack, ship, and sort later, than to sort now and ship less, because the clock is ticking.

Time is a limited resource. It actually levels the playing field. It doesn’t matter how rich or poor you are, we all have the same amount of time. Everyone has 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. You can’t store up time, the clock is always ticking. Even multitasking doesn’t really save time.

What you can do is choose how to use your time — you can choose ahead of time by planning (and plan for unplanned times) or choose in the moment by not planning. (The latter is less efficient and uses up more time, but I still much prefer the latter.) I’d been a part of a ministry that produces the Life Management Study (there’s an online version too), which is all about managing life by managing time, promising to free people from anxiety and stress. It’s a rigorous 12-week course, and for those who continue using the LMS tools and techniques, it works.

I find myself shopping much more online than in person, because of time. This InformationWeek article, Time: It Really Is Money — Companies can prosper by helping customers save time, makes time sense to me ::

To see what I mean by the cost of time, think about having to buy something. You have to pay to buy a product, and you also have to spend some time completing the transaction. For example, if you want to buy a book to take on vacation, you can drive to a bookstore, find something on the shelves, stand in line to pay for it, and drive back home. If this takes a quarter of an hour and the cash price for the book is $20, the total cost of the book is $20 plus 15 minutes of your time. Contrast this customer experience with an alternative: You buy the book by going on the Web, typing a few keystrokes, and clicking on a button to complete the sale. The book will arrive in your mailbox or on your doorstep in a few days. Because you have to pay $5 for shipping and handling, the direct monetary cost of this transaction might be $25 in charges on your credit card. But the online purchase takes only two minutes of your time. Which, then, is the less expensive way to buy the book?

Jun 112007

I know we have so much here in affluent America, myself included, and recent downscaling has begun to show me a freedom from stuff, and I hope that’d be an enduring freedom that also translates into generosity. Generous Giving has the most excellent biblical teachings on cultivating generosity. I think the idea of philanthropy goes beyond a cultural thing, it’s having an abundance mentality, and not a scarcity mentality:

Those people with an abundance mentality believe that there is enough money out there for all of our ministries; we simply need to mine it. But those people with a scarcity mentality believe that there is a limited amount of money, and they are anxious that other ministries are liable to get to it first. And so we wind up competing with each other, and we become protective. I pray that the Christian fund-raising industry will be flooded with an abundance mentality.

1 big implication: if Asian American churches caught this abundance mentality, there’d be more launching of next generation multi-Asian/ multi-ethnic churches to reach more people for Christ, instead of being concerned about how to keep people attending the same immigrant Asian church; after all, Asian Americans have the highest family median income of any ethnic/racial grouping.

Now, since I’ve already met and exceeded my fundraising goal for defraying my costs for the upcoming cross country move (although you CAN still chip in for costs!), here’s a more noble cause for you to chip in for. (One of my Leadership Network colleagues, Todd Rhoades, has 4 children. I don’t know how he does that, as we have our hands full with just 1.) I believe many of you have extra dollars — you can help Todd’s son, Taylor, get to New Orleans to help with the Gulf Coast recovery, a much more noble cause than my family move. Taylor doesn’t blog, far as I know, but his dad Todd sure does (over at MondayMorningInsight.com):

Last year I shared about my son’s mission trip to the gulf coast. Taylor was able to take a Mississippi with a group of his friends and youth pastor last year. Well, it’s a year later, and Taylor is looking forward to returning to Mississippi and this time to New Orleans to continue to help the folks in that area of the country. And this year, I’d love to have you be involved in making this happen for Taylor and his group …

It’s pretty simple… Taylor has to come up with at least $150 to make this trip happen for him.

If you have a little extra of God’s money laying around and would like to help him out, you can do so below. If not, please take some time to pray for his group as they leave next month. (I’ll give updates here, for sure).

I think it’d be really cool if some of the readers of MMI could help provide some support for Taylor; but also for some of the other kids going on the trip. So, here’s the deal… if anyone would like to chip in for their trip, I’ll put half toward Taylor’s trip and the other half toward another person who’s going. And if more comes in than needed for Taylor then all of it will go toward the cost of the trip for others…

If enough MMI readers would chip in $5 or 10 bucks, then the trip could be paid for. How cool would that be?

Jun 102007

We’re rounding on the final stretch of downsizing by selling or sharing or donating or trashing our stuff. The house echoes now because the furniture is gone; only thing left are a few dozen boxes of wires, AC adapters, product boxes, loose files, clothes, etc.

What’s been most amazing is to see the generosity of friends in so many ways. Our quaint home church has been incredibly kind in expressing their love and sadness over our move, and my web friends have been generous to quickly exceed my lil’ fundraiser to defray travel costs. With the very handy ChipIn widget service, which integrates so smoothly with PayPal, my web friends could donate online, chip in, and see the thermometer move towards the $500 goal.

To my utter surprise on Saturday morning, the goal was already exceeded!! A brief analysis of those who contributed to my moving expenses:

  • 6 contributors chipped in $515, so the average contribution is about $85.83
  • 100% have met me in person
  • 50% have lived/worked near me
  • 83% (5 of 6) are active bloggers
  • 0% use Xanga for their blogging tool

To downsize our stuff, we’ve been listing dozens of things on Craigslist for sell and for free. (Did I mention we’re moving cross country without a moving truck?) What an amazing free service, and Craiglisters are a subculture of its own. We’ve sold furniture, tv, given away assorted mixes of leftover hardware and electric goods, even an old Sega Genesis game system. Clothes and books haven’t moved briskly, so they got donated. My Honda Civic has been the hardest to sell. A paid listing in the Washington Post and cars.com hasn’t produced as many leads as Craigslist. A couple of listings I posted sold better than my dear wifey’s, b/c I put more panache into my listing; this is an excerpt from our dining table listing:

We must move — so we’re selling our beautiful Storehouse Java Collection Dining Set with 8 matching chairs. Light-colored (birch) wood with elegant lines. … Of course you’ll need some kind of a truck to carry it all. You’ll need to pay in advance if you want us to hold it for more than a day, b/c this is very likely to be in high demand. Come take a look before you decide. If you’d like to have a pizza party here to test it out, we’ll let you take it for a test drive, if you share the pizza and drinks with us :)

And, yesterday (Saturday) afternoon we had a come-and-go picnic at our community park. Perfect weather and proximity of a playground made it a fun family-friendly event for 40+ friends! My wifey does know how to decorate and put together a festive mood! The best party favor: a mini beach-ball with this web address. Our off-line friends have been kind to gift us their time and presence, and generous with both cash and non-cash gifts, the best included a soft-top carrier for our Xterra!

at family picnic

Jun 082007

The other night, an old friend and I, along with our dear spouses, relected on how our lives and who we are today was shaped by something that happened 15 years ago.  In a split second, we had injuries that would mark us for as long as we live, and invisible scars from losing 5 that were, just previously, sitting and laughing next to us.  My friend asked me, “Can you imagine who you’d be today if the accident didn’t happen?”  We talked about what we remembered, I learned things that I never knew about his injuries and his struggles, and he learned about mine.  We talked about those we lost, how we remembered them, the strength of the families, the strength of the survivors.  We talked about the constant need to live up to being spared, never being satisfied.  And, after talking about it, I felt its release.  Pain was present that evening, but so was incredible joy.  God is good.  God is good.  God is good.

5 from Dallas area die in church van crash, 10 hurt in accident with cement truck
Author: Todd J. Gillman Staff Writer of The Dallas Morning News
Publish Date: June 9, 1992
MINEOLA, Texas — Five Dallas-area teen-agers and adults were killed and 10 others were injured in a fiery crash Monday when a church van was broad-sided by a cement truck, authorities said.  Texas Department of Public Safety officials in Tyler said the van ran the stop sign and was struck by a Transit Mix La-farge Corp. cement truck…”


[this is good]


[this is good]

I was seven when that happened, and I remember everyone coming to church to cry and pray and hug.

I think God loved all of you that were in the accident and protected you in different ways. Some he needed to see right then. Others still had work to do here on earth. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to live up to something huge, just because you were “spared.” It does mean that it’s all the more apparent God is going to accomplish something amazing through your life – maybe even just by your living and breathing and blogging ;).

Thanks for posting. Here is some love. :)

I just realized that Isaiah was born on that day (after reading John’s wife’s blog…) Did you realize that before?  Rather strange. No wonder the Fangs sent so many gifts for Isaiah. sigh.   Give me a call. Would love to talk.

Aw, thanks. That’s very sweet of you. Well, this little girl definitely was a bit camera-shy at first, but I just… babble, haha. I often wish i were a funnier person, so I can crack jokes or something. A friend gave me a suggestion yesterday, though – pretend you’re a judge on America’s Next Top Model so that when you “boss people around,” they think it’s a game. That seems like it could make life easier in future! :)
It’s been 15 years.  It does makes make me long for heaven more and long for more here.
Jun 082007

Having worked in the non-profit world for most of my adult life, I’ve gained significant perspectives and experiences in the fundraising world. While I wouldn’t enjoy being “the man” who has to make “the ask”, I have learned quite a bit about how fundraising works, and here’s an insider’s look to demystify and deconstruct fundraising just a bit.

Wikipedia describes a non-profit organization as an organization that exists “to support an issue or matter of private interest or public concern for non-commercial purposes, without concern for monetary profit. A nonprofit organization may be involved in a wide range of areas relating to the arts, social issues, charities, early childhood education, healthcare, politics, religion, research, sports or some other endeavor.” In short, it’s an organizational entity formed for doing something of social good or advocate a social cause, with the American government giving tax-deductible incentive for people to do good for society by donating and funding non-profits. The peculiar thing about this kind of an entity is the 2 groups of people a non-profit has to work with — the clients who get its services, and the supporters who provide the funding. In a normal business or company, the customer is the one who receives the products and/or services and also pays for them. In the non-profit world, you have to maintain relationships with 2 separate groups. Okay, it’s getting a tad too technical, back to the point.

2 things that make fundraising work: vision and emotions. To raise money takes a compelling vision or cause. To make the fundraising appeal, typically “the ask” has to involve the emotions. Now with anything that involves emotions, there’s that fine line between sincerity vs. manipulation, and that’s not so easy to distinguish. The picture of a hungry or poor child tends to be the most emotionally grabbing, but when does it cross the line of emotional manipulation? I can’t draw that line, but it does raise the question of the staff’s and/or the organization’s motives. And who can know the motives of another person? What one can know is the operational integrity of an organization and the staff, and that’s discovered through its financial accountability and consistency of holding to its word.

I say all this to make a connection to my personal fundraising effort to defray the cost of my cross country move. Not a very compelling cause, because I’m not needy. No tax-deductible incentive. No emotionally-wrenching photograph or story to appeal to your feelings. So I’m not using the best fundraising tactics. I’m just putting it out here, and I’m grateful to those who have responded. This morning was the biggest surprise, with the biggest donation to date. I’m working with the donor to confirm how best to break the news. See my sponsors page to see how far along I am towards my fundraising goal!

Jun 052007

T-minus 2 weeks before we hit the road on the move from DC to OC. We’re moving cross country without a moving truck, so that’s involved a lot of sorting, tossing, selling, and giving away stuff and things, including my library of many books. Would insert picture here, but that’s time away from sorting.

It’s been cathartic for me to clean up this place and to get rid of all the clutter and stuff one accumulates over time. Living in this one place for 7 years is the longest I’ve ever stayed put in one place. Living in such an affluent country, this decomplexifying of my life feels good.

No major sponsors have come through, yet, for my major fundraiser to help pay for costs incurred for the cross country move. So let me try what Bob Hyatt did with his online fundraiser to get a MacBook last year (that netted $526).

So here’s my PayPal ChipIn button below for you to chip in on moving expenses — for helping with my moving costs. I’ll do the math later and give you an estimated cost. [update: $400+ for gas costs alone; we've set a fundraising goal of $500 to keep it round and realistic]

For those who pitch in, I’ll list your name, URL of your choosing, and post a sponsors list over at www.coast2coastmove.com – where we’ll blog the road trip. Will have spiffy up this pitch between sortings, it’s off to work.