Apr 232012

Charles Wear has published his faith journey as an e-book on Kindle = “No One Turns Down the Blessing.” It’s a fascinating read of an ex-pastor’s faith adventure with many unexpected and unconventional turns. Here’s what people are saying:

You’re about to read a dangerous book…” — Steve Sjogren, author, Conspiracy of Kindness, Kindness.com.

“Can our churches have an impact on the community around them? What does it look like to be Jesus to a group of skateboarders? In his first e-book, Charlie Wear–ex-pastor, editor, lawyer–shares his fascinating insights and experience of what it looks like to be church outside the walls, to “be Jesus” to people without the religious trappings. If you want to maintain the status quo, don’t bother to read this book…” — Felicity Dale, simplychurch.com, co-author Small is Big.

This is Charlie’s story about himself, a “recovering pharisee”, and his adventures from being a burned out, divorced, depressed church dropout; more church life in which he accidentally became a pastor, trying to look good as a preacher; another miserable failure; then how, out of the ashes of his attempt at church, true ministry was birthed. … It’s about how God uses a broken man with a broken heart to take the gospel to places the traditional church could never go. If you’re tired of normal ordinary “church”, this will inspire you. — Robby Charters, author of Pepe

One particular quote sticks with me and keeps me searching my own heart: “I used to think I was a Christian, because of what I believed, how I behaved and perhaps, because of how my associates thought of me.” If you’re interested in being liberated from this brand of “Christianity,” get Charlie’s book.Scott Bane

But you’ll need a Kindle to read the e-book (or you could use a Kindle app, I suppose.) How about this: Win a brand new Kindle e-reader by entering the contest below. Odds are really good that you’d win a copy of the e-book (100 winners). But you don’t have to take a chance and just go buy it for 99 cents.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

[this is a sponsored post + contest by Charles Wear]

Apr 192012

Is this a great idea or what?! People coming together online and raising money to help one person (or a group of people) with a specific need and in a matter of hours or a few days, that’s take care of via the power of crowdsourcing over the internet! Called HopeMob, this could become the kickstarter of fundraising to meet a need. Simple. Plus, the incorporating of game mechanics (aka gamification) could make this quite an engaging online community. The founder Shaun King was interviewed by Soledad O’Brien this morning on CNN Starting Point.

Another thing that’s amazing is that Shaun lives right in my neighborhood. Not every day that something like this grows so close to where I live. Honored.

I logged-in earlier and gave my points to boost the story of the cause to raise $$ to give hope to 2,000 kids via Joy Jars. You may have heard of Joy Jars, the inspiration of Jessie Rees who wanted to get 50,000 fans on her Facebook page to raise awareness and bring joy to other kids who have cancer. That page now has over 147,000 fans. So join in and use your free starter points and let’s brighten the lives of a couple thousand kids with joy and hope!

Apr 082012

ABC News’ This Week featured on Easter Sunday 2012 this 18-minute exclusive interview with Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church and a shorter interview with Kay Warren, wife of Pastor Rick, with mention of her new book, Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn’t Enough. Interviewer was Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) described Pastor Rick as the “most powerful religious leader in America.” While good to interview a pastor on Easter Sunday, the millions of Christians were at worship services around the country would not have seen the interview on television that aired on Sunday morning. So who woulda watched it? Good thing it’s available online for on-demand viewing too. And I’ve added links to portions of interview transcript after the jump. // [update 4/9] watch entire episode of This Week + full transcript //

Partial transcripts – text of interview with Rick Warren at ABC News Blogs:

[disclosure: I attend Saddleback Church @ Rancho Capistrano]

Apr 022012

Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the past decade, cf. Census 2010. This situation ought to prompt new activities among the over 7,000 Asian American churches in the United States. While a majority of these primarily have Asian-language worship services & ministries, there’s bound to be some level of innovation, churches breaking stereotypes of focusing on immigrants only, and realizing that Gospel mandate to take an actively intentional role in extending ministry to English-speaking and non-Asian-language speaking in its community and around the world.

Running on the assumption that good news travels fast, this is a short list of “successful” ethnic Chinese churches that I hear about out of an estimated 1,200 Chinese churches [need your help! add a comment + add to this list]:

And I’ll call upon my colleagues, KAMR and KCCD, who are much more knowledgeable about the Korean American church world, to make a similar note about their context, since I’m not Korean, and I wouldn’t want to shortchange all the good things that may be happening among some 4,000 Korean American churches.

Innovation happens everywhere. And going across the pond, there are things stirring in mainland China too. Influential Chinese economist Zhao Xiao reported that there’s a church in China with 100,000 congregations, each consisting of average 50 people, so the total combined size is over five million. Though that’s not the normal way of counting church size, it’s worth noting as a different “innovative” model of church in our fast-changing world.

On a broader perspective, also glean from John Kao‘s series about the state of innovation in China (posted at CNN’s Global Public Square) –

  1. China as an Innovation Nation - provided a portrait of China’s innovation drive, describing its scale and success model
  2. Why is innovation so important to China? - the historical context for the centrality of innovation in China’s national strategy; the country that invented the compass, gunpowder and printing
  3. Chinese innovation – paper tiger or king of the hill? - beyond the “black or white” rhetoric that characterizes much of the current debate on how real and significant China’s innovation drive
  4. In search of the Chinese entrepreneur - ” with profiles of Aigo’s Feng Jun and Sundia’s Xiochuan Wang
  5. Innovation war or innovation peace?” – potential for both conflict and cooperation in the U.S.-China innovation relationship
  6. Engage China with guarded openness - be open to sharing information and to collaboration, but exercise prudence and caution