Nov 292011
 

This is one amazing faux leather case for my iPad 2 and it comes in orange !! It also comes in a bunch of other colors: white, purple, green, red, pink, hot pink, coffee, brown, blue, and black. Retails for an unbelievable $26.95 with free shipping!

Here’s my video review :

In case you’re a leatherphile, they also have the very same case made with genuine leather for a few extra $s.

[disclosure: I received a complimentary case, courtesy of CaseCrown.com]

Nov 242011
 

Gratitude can’t be disconnected. Thanks has to be given to someone. And, I want to give thanks for someone, for a lot of people in my life, the ones who have made the greatest difference and positive impact in my life. As they do in book acknowledgements and acceptance speeches, I want to thank the many people who have help me through what I consider to be turning points in my life. My Dad and Mom. My wife Rachelle. My son Jeremiah. Buggs Bugnon. Paul & Alice Chou. Ray Chang. Bernice Imei Hsu. Dave Travis. Sabastian Huynh. Chuck Fromm. And I thank God for giving me Himself and for Jesus Christ and for the Holy Spirit, for the very breath of life itself and all the days of my life, however many it is that I will be granted – what a gift! (aside #1: some say religion is a crutch, so be it for them. I say I can use all the help I can get, and I’m not too proud or too ashamed to say I need lots of help.)

And THANK YOU for being a regular reader or even a random visitor to my website and blog here at djchuang.com! Thank you Twitter followers and Facebook friends too!

(aside #2: It’s hard to make these lists of people to thank, because I don’t like leaving people out, as a highly-inclusive kind-a-guy… the list above are those that have made the biggest difference, you make a difference too, just not as big as theirs, in my life, yet…)

Nov 192011
 

There’s something ugly about moralism and self-righteousness, the exhausting effort of trying to be good and to do the right thing all the time. Doing good is a good thing. This isn’t to say we give up and give in to our lustful desires and “animal” instincts.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/raftwetjewell/3262032234/in/photostream/
What I’m realizing as I revisit this topic is: the point isn’t to try harder to be moral and to feel more badly when we fail. The point is to be more honest in acknowledging this aspect of our humanity, to humbly confess them to a few trusted others [ed.note: the hardest thing to do!], and to freely choose to depend on God’s spiritual habits to do the slow work of changing the very depths of my heart.

Dr. John Coe has given these spiritual formation talks on numerous occasions, about why we still sin when we know so much. Hearing these talks is so freeing and liberating. During his seminary-level course, he’d take 5 lectures to unpack this thorough understanding of our heart (the core of our being: intellect, will, and desire) and its innate remnant capacity to sin. Here’s several recordings for you. Those who have ears, let them hear.

BiblicalTraining.org has online courses with Dr. John Coe, these two below posted with outlines –

Spiritual Formation Class: Why We Sin When We Know So Much, part 1 of 2 (TH250-3)
What is in our heart determines how we act. There is more going on in our heart than what shows on the surface. In our hidden heart, we often have negative beliefs and desires that affect our actions.


A. Introduction
1. Ephesians 4:22ff
B. The Christian faith is foremost about the heart
1. “Heart” is used for the real or core person.
2. The heart directs our life. What is in the heart determines our whole of life.
3. Principles
C. Why is the heart so impregnable and slow to change?
D. Things to know about a biblical understanding of the hidden heart
1. There is always more going on in the hidden heart than what is on the surface.
2. The degree to which we have a hidden heart of negative beliefs and desires that have not been dealt with is the degree to which we are not in control of that material and it can control us.

Spiritual Formation Class: Why We Sin When We Know So Much, part 2 of 2 (TH250-4)
When we sin, it’s often the result of sin in our heart that has deep relational and historical roots. God wants us to pursue Him so he can transform us from the inside.

D. Things to know about a biblical understanding of the hidden heart (cont)
3. Thus, most Christians do not intend to sin; rather, they just leak.
4. This “leaking” is all about warring beliefs and desires in the heart.
5. Thus, most sins are not intentions of the moment but are merely the tip of the habitual iceberg.
6. Thus, beware of “prayers of magic” or avoidance to have God take away sins.
7. Becoming a Christian can even exacerbate this problem of not knowing your heart.
8. No amount of surface correcting or behavioral change will transform the heart.
9. Self-awareness is a necessary ingredient but by itself will not transform the heart.
10. The process of transformation requires a power strong enough to penetrate into your heart to resolve whatever need at the core is driving you.
E. How does God open the heart and begin the process of change-transformation?
1. Opening the heart in honesty to the Word of God in prayer.
2. Trials and “thorns in the flesh” (2 Cor 2:7-10)
3. Opening to God’s sovereign work of transformation in all circumstances.
4. Fellow believers
5. Prayer and soul work
F. God delights not in sacrifice, but a broken and contrite heart.

Also online as part of the Spiritual Formation Lecture Series [iTunes link] with Dr. John Coe, Biola University — This five-part lecture series featuring Dr. John Coe provides listeners with an in-depth integrative theology of Christian spiritual formation and soul care. Hosted by the First Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton and co-sponsored by the Institute for Spiritual Formation and Talbot School of Theology.

Nov 092011
 

In this fast-changing world requiring more leadership, all this talk about leadership could lead to fatigue from so much talk about it. In a recent convo with Sam, I think he’s right, there are no easy answers (or reprieve) to leadership, it’s just plain hard. http://midwestmarines.blogspot.com/2011/07/marine-corps-14-leadership-traits.htmlLeadership is figuring it out in your own context. Tons of air time about leadership principles and motivational inspirational pep talks. Not quite enough about self-care; not quite enough about how a leader doesn’t have to look strongly confident 24/7 and it’s okay to ask for help and where to get support. Other thoughts on leadership fatigue –

‘Leadership fatigue’ comes about for a number of reasons including such things as: persistent decision making which may have an impact on other people’s lives; defining and developing business directions, sourcing income streams for the business, consistently adjusting to dramatically changing economic environment and meeting regulatory, industry or professional requirements.


In this Seattle School talk, Dr. Dan Allender identified the reasons why most people are leaders, the top 5 issues leaders face, as well as some personal reflections on how to care for one’s self in the midst of leadership fatigue.

… business leaders and executives demonstrate fatigue because 1. so much of what they have been doing is not working as well as they would like and 2. what they know how to do, is not producing the results that are expected of them. This most commonly shows up as “things not moving fast enough” and “resources dwindling”. It also shows up with not having the “right people on board” or not being able to “retain the talent” needed to be successful.

… anyone who wields great power is bound to rub some people the wrong way, and those disaffected people accumulate over time. They also tend to have longer memories. As Dan Julius, a senior academic administrator now in the University of Alaska system told me years ago, “the things you did that upset people and create enmity live on much longer than what you did that people liked and created supporters.” … “leave before the party’s over,” which contains much wisdom about the importance of leaving positions before our charms have faded, and about the discipline required to do so. By overstaying, leaders place themselves in situations where they become less effective, tarnish their legacies, and are therefore less able to move on to a new position of power.

Can I make a confession? I sure get tired of leading. Though I currently do not occupy an organizational C-level leadership position, I confess that I sure get tired of having to initiate more frequently than I’d like. Sure would be nicer if it’d be more 50/50 where someone else initiates with me vs. my initiating with them. I don’t like the weight of having to make decisions with its consequences affect myself and others. Some people eat stress for lunch. I’d rather eat dessert.

Nov 062011
 

Good to see my friend Jefferson Lee and his family in this OC Family Feature Story (November 2011), “Special Love: Adopting a special-needs child brings unique rewards to the entire family” by Susan Serrano —

Like any family with a new addition, the Lee household is a study in controlled chaos. However, instead of diaper changes and late-night feedings, this Irvine family is bustling with the adventures of Braeden, an inquisitive 5-year-old with a passion for all things outdoors. He joined his family this summer via adoption from South Korea.

Jeff and Rachel Lee had long discussed adding to their family, which includes two biological daughters [...].

Adoption appealed to Rachel, a psychologist; however, Jeff was uncertain. A mission trip to Africa – where he assisted a boy who needed lifesaving heart surgery – changed everything

“He realized he could easily fall in love with a child he was not biologically related to. That was in 2006, the same year Braeden was born,” Rachel Lee recalled. “Last year, we determined that, with our two daughters getting older, we had reached a ‘now-or-never’ point; it was time to move forward and adopt, or to decide not to add to our family.”

The Lees felt an older child would fit well with their active crew. Since both Jeff and Rachel were born in Korea, adopting a child from their native country was also a logical choice, Rachel says. Their research led them to Braeden, who had a heart condition and lived in a Korean orphanage.

The ever-changing landscape of international adoption has one constant feature: a continually increasing need for adoptive families for older children and children with special needs, says Kimberly Alls, coordinator of the Waiting Child Program for the Lee’s adoption agency.

Alls advises those considering opening their hearts and homes to a child with special needs to carefully consider their motivation for adopting, asking questions that include …

Read the full article in OC Family.

And the sidebar has these very valuable tips of “Adoption Etiquette: What not to say to adoptive parents” (by Judy M. Miller)
Continue reading »

Nov 012011
 
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Thanks to Stew, I’m happy to be a part of the social media convo’s around Verge 2012, the ultimate missional church conference on February 28 – March 2, 2012 @ Austin Texas. Group registration discounts end on November 30th, rates are awesome for groups of 6 or more, even more awesome for groups of 30 or more. Bring the whole missional community before seats sell out.

So refreshing to see fresh faces and compelling voices on the platform– Rudy Carrasco, Tom Lin, Felicity Dale, Leonce Crump, Kim Hammond. Names that are more recognized will be there too: Dave Ferguson, Alan Hirsch, Dave Gibbons, Matt Carter, Darrin PatrickDavid Platt, Hugh Halter, Neil Cole, John Perkinsstay tuned for more here and at Verge Network – where they’re doing a tremendous job with new content daily.