Jan 302008

Here in Chicago to drop in on the Evangelical Covenant denomination’s Midwinter Conference at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare. Came in last night instead of the afternoon b/c my flight was delayed for 3 hours due to inclement weather at O’Hare, and will be flying out tonight.

Walked outside to see snow flurries last night. So nice! Winter finally feels real. Nothing like bundling up and feeling a little chill. (okay, enough winter this season, tho’ making a snowball would be a bonus)

Didn’t plan this trip as well, just booked it last minute last week; otherwise, I woulda stayed the whole time, b/c there are so many next gen Asian American pastors here in this mix, including Eugene Cho, Ed Lee, Walton Yuen, Ted Law, Peter Ahn, Abe Han, Dave Chae, Greg Yee, John Lee, and more. Locals like Soong-Chan Rah and Peter Cha stopped by too. Haven’t seen Scot McKnight or Doug Pagitt. Very encouraging to see how this older denomination is making intentional changes to enter the 21st century with growing momentum.

My conferencing tip I’ll divulge: I skip out of plenaries and workshops to meetup with people, and buy CDs of the talks I want to hear. And, I’ll roam around workshops, drop into several for 5 minutes each, catch the gist, and either settle in on one that most resonates to me, or if I find someone, pull someone out and get a hallway conversation. Though, in this grand and beautiful hotel, there are so many nice sofas and sitting areas all over, it’s ideal for mingling. Love that!

And a book I’ve been highly recommending to my pastor friends, and good for anyone who does public speaking, is Dave Stone’s Refining Your Style: Learning from Respected Communicators — read D-Plum’s raving review too. Plenty of books and courses on the mechanics of speaking and plumbing of preaching, but few books like this that helps you to find and shape your own voice.

Jan 292008

I had a recent conversation with Lee Yih of Layman’s Foundation. He’s a part of hosting a unique conference called the “3M Christian Partnerships: Transforming the Marketplace, Ministry, and Marriage”, which will be at Lost Valley Ranch, Deckers, Colorado on February 14-17, 2008. Here’s what he had to say about this one-of-a-kind conference:

Q: What is the 3M conference?
Lee: A conference designed for Asian American singles that focuses on Career issues (Marketplace), having a personal ministry (Ministry), and finding a suitable partner (Marriage).

Q: What are your core values?
Lee: We have five: 1) A heart for obedience; 2) A heart for China; 3) Having an eternal perspective; 4) The Priesthood of the ordinary believer; 5) Retail Christianity

Q: What is unique about this conference?
Lee: The conference gathers a very homogeneous group of Asian Americans between the ages of 25-35 years old from all parts of the country and Hong Kong. Instead of workshops we will have small “huddles” of five attendees each meeting with outstanding practitioners of “Lay Ministry”. There will be 8 keynote sessions by 4 different speakers over the 3 day weekend. The conference venue is embarrassingly well appointed and the recreational activities of horseback riding, skeet shooting and square dancing are unique.

This conference’s teaching is especially encouraging to young adults who are are called of God to the marketplace, but not necessarily called to vocational Christian ministry. Read more information about the conference, details, speakers, schedule, etc. and view the conference flyer (links to a page with PDF).

Personal note – my brother will be attending this conference and actively participating, maybe even hang out for an extra day at the “gorgeous area with a pristine, mountain and lake setting, and lots of options to do outdoor sports like skiing, snowmobiling, etc.”

Jan 282008

Todd Rhoades, editor and publisher of MondayMorningInsight.com, breaks the news to the blogosphere about changes at the top over at Willow Creek Community Church, founded by Bill Hybels, and he’s getting to experience that “digg” or “slashdot” effect:

Well, it seems that the Willow announcement in this morning’s MMI has brought down our servers (or made them, at the very least, very very slow). There have been over 1,000 pageviews on this one story alone so far this morning.

Please be patient… things will speed up very soon… hopefully.

In the mean time, here’s the link to the Willow Creek elder’s announcement.

And just one other note… it appears that both Gene Appel and Randy Frazee are leaving Willow on very good terms. That’s a good thing for Willow and for the Kingdom. Let’s keep them in prayer as this is, yet another, huge transition for Willow, and for everyone involved. Many will blog about this in the coming days, trying to dissect the reasons why there are two departures announced on the same date. It’s important not to jump to conclusions as some already are.

[disclosure: Todd is also my colleague at Leadership Network]

Jan 262008

Just got in on a private beta of Hulu, a web service that let you watch television on demand on the web! Very nice user interface. Here’s a clip from The Office that they let me embed here:

So far, they’ve signed on a bunch of partners to provide premium televised content, both broadcast and cable, and of the 4 major broadcast networks, they’ve got Fox and NBC. Maybe ABC and CBS will be next.

With broadband speed continuing to increase, I think this’ll be better than Tivo! And here’s a lil’ Jim Carrey from his In Living Color days:

eat my pizza

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Jan 192008

I ordered my 1st BFD pizza from Domino’s tonight for dinner with the boys (my boy Jeremiah has a friend over for a sleepover). You can have the very same personalized pizza that we ate — order up BFD #3299, known as “Foodie’s Delight“.

On the BFD page, click on the blue “See all registered BFDs” button on the lower left side, scroll down the left column and under “Go to registered BFD”, enter “3299” (without quotes), click on the “GO” button. Click on “Add to Cart”. Click on “Checkout”. Enter your delivery or pickup info, and you’ll be eating my pizza in about 30 minutes. And as an added bonus, use their “pizza tracker” to see when your pizza is being prep’d, baked, boxed, and delivery on its way.

Here’s what is on the “Foodie’s Delight” pizza:

1 Large(14″) Hand Tossed Pizza,
Whole: Extra Cheese, Extra Sauce, Italian Sausage,
Left: Bacon, Extra Large Pepperoni, Green Peppers, Mushrooms, Onions,
Right: Ham, Pepperoni

Bon appetit!

Foodie’s Delight

Jan 182008

With the turn of the century, there’s a lot of new developments in the church world — which is exciting for some, confusing for others. Particularly, the new kinds of churches being described as emerging church or emergent church, are all over the map (and around the world) in terms of what it looks like, what they believe, and how they worship. And, if one adds “missional church” to the mix, one’ll get some contemporary evangelical churches under the big tent too.

There’s been more than a handful of attempts at explaining what the emerging church is by using taxonomies, categories, types, classifications, and/or models. Here are some of the more oft-quoted articles about emerging and/or emergent churches::

Five Streams of the Emerging Church: Key elements of the most controversial and misunderstood movement in the church today by Scot McKnight (in Christianity Today, February 2007)

Understanding the emerging church by Ed Stetzer (in Baptist Press, January 2006), 3 descriptors were proposed: Relevants, Reconstructionists, and Revisionists; for more background and context about this article, see Ed Stetzer’s blog entry on Understanding the Emerging Church

Four Models of Emerging Churches by Wess Daniels — a more nuanced listing of 4 proto-typologies and their influencers: deconstructionist, pre-modern, open Anabaptism, foundationalist (ht: emergent village; January 2008)

Darrin Patrick lectured at Covenant Seminary on “streams of the emerging church“, presenting 3 main streams: Conversational, Attractional, Incarnational (ht: emergent village; October 2007)

An Emerging Church Primer by Justin Taylor (at 9 Marks, a broadly reformed perspective)

And, Mark Driscoll (Mars Hill Church, Seattle) in “A Pastoral Perspective on the Emergent Church” (in Criswell Theological Review, Spring 2006) re-stated Ed Stetzer’s categories, but has more recently reframed those into: Relevants, Revisionists, and Relevant Reformed, including himself in the latter, cf. Conference examines the emerging church (Baptist Press, September 2007) though he was interviewed in 2006 citing 4 categories, adding Relevant Reformed to Stetzer’s original 3.

For more comparative opinions, see Mark Driscoll’s Critique Gets Mixed Response over at emergent village.

And what would Tim Keller say to the emerging church? Keller has added his comments at Tallskinnykiwi’s Anabaptism and the Emerging Church and emergingpensee’s Should Emerging Church Settle?

[update 10/8/08] Doug Pagitt on video weights in with Emergent and Emerging Church Distinction | see Emergent Village for their network of on-going conversations | history of how emergent church emerged | read September 2008′s month-long Emergent Blogologue (a blog-based conversation) between Christian futurist Bill Easum and Tony Jones, in 5 parts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) | Scot McKnight observes that “Emergent is no longer just emerging. It has in many respects emerged.” in McLaren Emerging (CT, Sept 2008) and blogs about emerging movement fairly regularly at jesuscreed.org

Jan 172008

On my first 2008 weekend, I was in the Houston area, and coincidentally met a really neat couple, Simon and Faye Lee.

Simon Lee is founder and president of EIS Office Solutions, a company that he started with a long term goal to donate 50% of their profits to local and worldwide organizations. This generosity is focused on aid to Africa, specifically Sudan, to build hospitals and schools for underprivileged children. EIS Office Solutions is based in the Houston area, with very competitive rates for office supplies and even same day delivery. EIS also has discounts for churches and non-profit organizations.

I met Simon on the last day of the conference, so we only had a few hours left. We agreed to do a power lunch along with his wife, and had much to talk about. It was so exciting for all of us to learn about the world of private family foundations. They had just started a family foundation the week before we met, as a strategic vehicle to give generously to Kingdom causes. It is a very rare occasion when I can talk about what it is that I do, and have people actually understand and appreciate the value of it.

This couple was particularly inspiring and encouraging for me! This young couple want to be a testimony of generosity as next generation Asian Americans, and recognize the latent potential we have to make a difference in the world. I pray their example would be contagious.

Jan 162008

Over at the L2 Foundation blog, I’ve posted my presentation (slides + audio) from last weekend, titled “How Churches are Reaching Asian Americans“, presented in Oakland/ East Bay area at the ISAAC Chinese Churches Consultation and at Bay Area Chinese Bible Church.

Much of this presentation is based upon the 9/26 presentation titled “Revitalizing Asian American Churches for New Generations” — with a broad overview of the opportunity for reaching Asian Americans nationwide, and 6 stories of next generation multi-Asian/ multi-ethnic churches around the country. It’s not just a west coast phenomena. I’ve given more thought about the common characteristics of these churches, and included it towards the end of my talk.

What I’m enjoying about these talks (I gave it 3 times last weekend) is the Q&A discussion time I set aside, about 35-45% of the time at the end. Each group brings out different questions, insights, and perspectives — several have turned into robust conversations.

Jan 152008

Just got an SMS text message from Domino’s Pizza:

From: 366466
Domino’s has the BFD waiting for you! Get a Large Unlimited topping pizza for only $10.99. Go 2 Dominos.com to order now!

So I went over there, and they really are offering a customized large pizza for $10.99 with unlimited toppings! BFD = big fantastic deal

On the BFD page, click on the blue “See all registered BFDs” button on the lower left column of the Flash-powered microsite, to browse the list of 539 custom-built pizzas have been registered [at time of this post]. The most popular pizza, “No Mush”, has been ordered 116 times, probably b/c it defaults to this one on the BFD home page. The next most popular “20,000 meats under the cheese” has been ordered 97 times already. And, you can conveniently order one of these pre-customized pizzas by clicking on the “Add to cart” button. Would you say Yummo?

[update] just found out there’s a Best BFD Builder contest, winner gets $500; build your pizza before January 27th.