Jun 242009

Keen observers here at my personal blog may have noticed a change of pace with blog posts as of late. This disruption of rhythm involves 2 things.

One, I’ve been rethinking how I can better communicate my own voice while representing 2 important leadership organizations. Something that’s dawned on me is the stewardship of leadership. In recent years more than before, God has opened more opportunities for me to be more than an amateur color commentator on the Asian American and multiethnic church, which is still how I prefer to see myself. And a lot of this comes from my employment and association and affiliation with L2 Foundation and Leadership Network.

This means there is more “weightiness” to the words I use when I speak, and when I write or blog, because that will inadvertently reflect on those 2 organizations. And while I personally prefer to be a full-disclosure open-book kind of guy, and speak in a stream-of-conscious thoughts-in-progress kind of manner, that is not the best way to come across in a world where public statements are taken as on-the-record and more “authoritative” rather than my idle thinking-out-loud what-if speculations. This also means my personal commentaries and opinions have to be more restrained and diplomatic, at least that’s how I’m reframing my thinking about this adjustment. Napoleon Bonaparte said that “A leader is a dealer in hope” and there’s some truth to that. While I’ve wanted to avoid delusional optimism for most of my life, this doesn’t preclude me from talking points that are more positive and hopeful. I write all this to say that this is a new aspect of leadership for me, and I’m in the midst of that learning progress.

Two, I’m working on a sermon to preach this Sunday 6/28 at the English ministry of Vietnamese Alliance Church in Midway City, California. The passage is Luke 15:11-32. It’s arguably one of the most well-known teachings of Jesus.

// [update] Listen to recorded audio + see photo of my sermon notes //
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Jun 132009

A good number of you expressed interested in an accounting and database software for small churches that is under development by some people I know of. Here’s an update from Dan Kelly, who’d like to have input “from people before the software is complete to ensure it meets their needs”:

—– email message —–
Sent: Friday, June 12, 2009
Subject: Aplos Software Blog Update

We searched for over a year to find a simple accounting software package designed for small churches. We could not find one so we decided to build our own. We began by brainstorming about things that frustrate us about the current offerings: too complex, too many functions that I don’t need, etc. We have set out to create a product that overcomes those issues.

Our software engineers are cruising along and have made tremendous progress. We plan to have a product out this fall.

Before they finish the software I would love to hear some of your horror stories about your current software so we can avoid those pitfalls and create software that meets your needs.

Thank you for your interest and support for our project.

Dan Kelly
Aplos Software

Add a comment below and/or email Dan directly at [[email protected]] with your input.

Jun 092009

It all unravels eventually. Whether it’s getting tired of hiding the indiscretion, telling a lie, living a lie. Or, getting caught red-handed.

Another pastor admits an emotional and physical affair. It’s wrong and there are tons of consequences. I think in the information age, with the openness of the Internet, more bad news is known and spreads faster. shattered livesMoral failures have been around before, easier to hide in some sense, though just as devastating. This past weekend, another pastor falls, even more in the public eye because of social media. And the online chatter perculating.

Scott Williams lists 4 Reasons Leaders FAIL, i.e. fake, attitude, integrity, lacking. Geoff Surratt warns pastors of how they’re already toast if they think they aren’t vulnerable. Ron Edmondson adds his thoughts and Todd Rhoades adds his prayer for another fallen servant.

To reiterate, from Why Pastors Fall Into Affairs: “What is it with pastors and affairs? I did a brief search through Google and found all kinds of stories about pastors having affairs with secretaries, the wives of other ministers, and who knows who else. … Curiously, many pastors fall into affairs when their ministries grow. Success has a way of turning on its master. … Of course we’re not big fans of learning from our mistakes. … I know if I started pastoring a church tomorrow I’d say to myself, “Those other guys fell, but not me. I’m going to be fine.”

Pastors know what they’re supposed to do. They teach it and preach it. And the inevitable stresses of ministry will come (or never goes away, in many cases). Pastoring the most stressful job I can think of. Sometimes the church is overly successful. The stresses of marriage and family life will show up too — nobody has a perfectly easy marriage. And there’s always someone of the opposite sex who is more attractive to the average red-blooded male. I’m one, so I know what I’m talking about (tongue in cheek.) Plus there’s the spiritual realm too. Pastors have a red bulls-eye on their back, constantly in the cross-hairs of Satan’s destructive schemes.

My own thinking is that keeping precautions and rules won’t guarantee moral & marital purity. Rules don’t change the heart. From my vantage point, I’m of the opinion that high-capacity leaders tend to be task-oriented, and not as relationally-oriented. Task-orientation is what makes them that much more effective, but it’s also is the achilles’ heel, because there’s going to be the tendency of not spending enough time in close relationships with a few trusted others — especially in transparent vulnerable friendships where they are fully known. If friends knew the struggles and temptations in the heart & soul of a leader, especially in this area of temptation, then a leader doesn’t have to bear it all by himself. It’s true that leadership is lonely at the top, and the higher you go, the lonelier it gets. No one will understand what the leader is going thru. Partly true. Others don’t have to understand, but others can know. At least get a professional counselor to relieve the stress that mere rest and sports will not.
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Jun 082009

Danny Yang has now apologied for triggering a firestorm of comments for his provocatively titled blog post, Is Francis Chan a sell-out?

francis-chanThe title obviously struck a nerve, and provoked a good number of mis-readings and reactions, even though it was clearly spelled out in that very blog post that Danny did not think he was a sell-out:

I don’t really think he’s a sell-out; I believe Chan is living faithfully to what GOD has called him to be.

Does that mean the question was mis-stated in the first place? Maybe not. There is a rhetorical device called a hypothetical question where a question may be posed, even though the answer is already known as a definitively absolutely “no.” It’s used in the Bible, you know. Paul posed the question, “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” Of course not! Is he a sell-out? Of course not!
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Jun 052009

Passing along a special opportunity for a special minister of the Gospel to pastor in the Pentagon City area (Arlington, Virginia) of metro Washington DC.

Senior Pastor Ministry Position

Great Commission Community Church (GCCC) is seeking a Senior Pastor by Fall 2009 to lead the church into its next phase of God’s plan. This is currently the only permanent pastoral staff position within the church. Duties include: Teaching/Preaching, Leadership Training, Facilitate Advisory Board, Primary Visionary, Administrate, Small Groups

For church profile, desired characteristics, and contact, see the full document about this ministry opportunity.

Jun 042009

When I saw this recorded video of 2 people on webcams in 2 separate locations talking with each other, be it discussion or debate or interview, I started on a rampant search for how to produce that kind of a video.

(And, yes, I have contacted bloggingheads.tv to ask how they do it. Reply was “The video is produced with a mix of open source technologies”.) [update 10/07/12 - found this tech note from someone who participated on bloggingheads.tv -- "I would record myself on a phone call with a scientist or a writer, and then we'd both upload our Quicktime files to an editor who would sync the whole thing together."]

After months of searching, I have not yet found a working solution that fits the bill. I know bloggingheads.tv can produce it. I just can’t find a web app accessible to the masses, yet. The closest web app I’ve found is woome.com, but that’s for video dating, and I’m wanting a web app for general usage, be it personal or professional, free or paid. Here’s what I’m looking for:

  • easy to use – so a non-techie can use it
  • no software download or install (cross-platform, browser independent)
  • supports video chat for 2 users (from multiple locations)
  • records the video chat to be played on-demand and/or embed-able
  • bonus: live-streams the video chat + records it + supports a chat room for 100+ viewers
  • bonus: supports 4 simultaneous webcams for panel-discussion video chat + records it + audience

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