Mar 272014

Watch the free webcast for The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church held on 3/28/14, noted as the nation’s first religiously backed conference to address mental health issues


/ [update] Watch/listen to the recordings from The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church All of the plenary session videos and workshop audios are online for free. /

Traditional media mentions, most recently:

I’m most eager to hear of the next steps and sustained efforts at keeping the conversations alive and ongoing, raising awareness, shaping and changing perceptions, breaking stigma over time. It won’t happen overnight. I do pray that a bunch of good things will birth from this event. And I hope the event organizers will record the webcast videos and make those available as a very valuable resource.

Aside: I haven’t yet found discussions online leading up to the event, though I did find a few blog posts. (My attempt to contact organizers about follow-up next steps got a reply of: “… decisions have not been made yet.”)

Mar 152014

March 28th, 2014 is the day when the world could have more safe communities for people with mental illness. The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church is convening on 3/28 from 8:30am to 9:00pm (Pacific Time, UTC-7) Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, and word is that there will be a FREE livestream webcast. See website for more event info and if you’re local to Southern California, please come – and don’t let money be a barrier. Event hashtag = #hope4mh


Here’s your personal invitation from the organizers:

Studies show that one out of every four adults in America will be affected by mental illness at some point in their lives. The first place many go for help is to their priest or to their pastor because the heart of Jesus and the Church has always been for those who suffer.

You are invited to The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church, a one-day event designed to encourage individuals living with mental illness, educate family members, and equip church leaders to provide effective and compassionate care to any faced with the challenges of mental illness.

Join Pastor Rick and Kay Warren of Saddleback Church, Bishop Kevin Vann of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, and NAMI-OC (National Alliance on Mental Illness-Orange County), and other faith and community leaders on Friday, March 28 for a hope-filled and inspiring event, as together we call the Church to action on behalf of those living with mental illness, equip lay and pastoral leadership, and stand side-by-side with those who suffer.

The headline on this Christian Post article, Rick and Kay Warren to Host ‘Mental Health and the Church’ Summit; Organizers Hope to Wipe Out Stigma of Mental Illness, is quite an overstatement, in my humble opinion. One event will not wipe out the stigma, as the headline suggests (or it could be read that way, I did). It will take a long sustained effort to change things, with the social stigma pervasive in societies and families, faith communities and churches alike.

I’m personally very grateful for this one influential church taking a first step to start addressing this. I’m eager to see what the second step will be, and the many steps ahead that many others will begin to take. It all starts with the first step, and I sincerely hope it’s the first of many, not only for Saddleback, but many many others.

kaywarren313postAnd, one more thing. I’ll be there in person myself. Please say hello if you can come too, I would be happy to connect. (personal disclosure: Saddleback Church is my home church)

cf. also read Kay Warren’s poignant blog post (Facebook calls it a “story”): ‘… shocked by some subtle and not-so-subtle comments indicating that perhaps I should be ready to “move on.”‘

Jul 282013

Pastor Rick Warren returns to the pulpit at Saddleback Church after a 16-week sabbatical. He and wife Kay and family and extended family and church family and God’s family have shared an agonizing experience as we’re grieved together over the loss of his son during the week after Easter. I write this blog post on my 3rd time watching the poignant message that Pastor Rick and Kay shared, very personally and powerfully. As Pastor Rick opened his message, he introduced that he with Kay will be comforting others with the comfort we’ve been given (for this new season of their anointed ministry), offered words of thanks, and then proceeded to unpack the words of comfort from 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 about how to get through what you’re going through. You’ll be able to watch the video of this message all week at and on-demand at

For a historical occasion like this, I had to be there for the very first time in person (Pastor Rick preaches 5 times every weekend at Saddleback’s Lake Forest campus) and sat in the 10th row front and center. We arrived for the Saturday 4:30pm Saturday service 90 minutes early, and over 100 people were in the auditorium already, too, and it was at full capacity 30+ minutes before start time. 3 other tents accommodated overflow at Lake Forest, and those got filled too. What an emotional experience for all. There’s no one like Rick Warren in our generation, as God has gifted him uniquely with talents and opportunities, unparalleled influence and impact far beyond its church walls, imprinted on American evangelicalism, and on pace for shaping global Christianity as he mobilizes local churches everywhere to go to the final frontier of reaching the unreached unengaged people groups with the hope of the Gospel. cf. Rick Warren’s Final Frontier: Saddleback wants to bring the gospel to the world’s 3,400 unengaged people groups. Why it just might work.

Mainstream media circulated the Associated Press article, while a handful of local mainstream media made mentions of this event. Plus, these exceptional articles:

Highlights of the chatter on social media at ; and below that is the photo that @RickWarren shared on his own social media feeds.

Jul 142013

Very privileged to get a tremendous opportunity last month to speak during a Sunday worship service at an ethnic Chinese church in Austin, Texas. The message was very well received, I think. The sermon was translated live side-by-side, phrase-by-phrase, from English to Mandarin Chinese, and that was followed by like 20 minutes of interactive Q&A, plus I was counseling afterward for another hour. For those of you that have your pulse on viral videos (5M+ views), the translator was Jia Jiang of the 100 Days of Rejection Therapy notoriety. Listen/download the audio:


Very grateful for the opportunity and the receptiveness. What I experienced was just how much emotion is under the surface for my kin among the Chinese/Asian people, but it’s too often unexpressed and suppressed, so when there is an inviting and safe opportunity to begin exploring those feelings, it can be a rather surprising and even disorienting experience. That’s how I interpreted how the emcee (aka moderator) described it as he shared some closing words to wrap up the worship service. And also personally very touched by the kind words of introduction from my friend Paul Wang Jr. who serves as English Pastor there.

And, thus begins my journey of being a vocal advocate for mental health being more accessible to Asians and Asian Americans. Your feedback is welcomed, after you listen to the sermon.


cf. my Gospel Herald article Can the Church Help with Mental Illness?

Dec 082010

The second reason we need Asian Americans to be Asian Americans is health and wholeness. Healthy psychological, physical, and social lives are at stake. Here’s what the data says, via Asian American Health Initiative:

  • Hepatitis B is one of the largest health threats for Asians. Asian Americans account for over half of deaths resulting from chronic Hepatitis B infection in the U.S.
  • Mental health problems in the Asian American community are disturbingly high, yet its services are inadequate.
  • As many as 90% of Asian Americans are lactose intolerant or cannot easily digest dairy products.
  • Asian Americans have a higher prevalence of tuberculosis (TB) than all other racial and ethnic groups.

And on the social & psychological front, Asian Americans need Asian American role models, those who are not super-accomplished superstars, but those who are average Asian Americans, who identify with other Asian Americans. Asian Americans would be healthier on the whole if they can have access to psychological and social help for the challenges of life. And when this help is perceived as unavailable or too shameful to get, despair drive too many towards the terrible choice of suicide. cf. A Family Suicide Risk in US Asians? @ Time 8/19/08. Asian Americans’ Rising Suicide Rates @ 8/13/09.
And, listen to this interview of Kathy Lim Ko (director of The Asian and Pacific Islander Health Care Forum) by Allison Keyes on NPR’s Tell Me More: Tackling Asian American Health Disparities.

[update 8:30am] // Now for most of us who are healthy and life is good, it may be hard to relate to the life challenges that some Asian Americans face. Believe you me, all of us will face some challenges in life somewhere along the way. And even the most together and/or accomplished Asian American can hit psychological road bumps; the silent killer, if you will. In other words, there’s an undeniable uniqueness to our genetic makeup as Asian Americans, embedded in the biological fibers of our being. And, for most of us having had formative times in an Asian cultural context, that shapes us, as well as being obviously Asian American in appearance, we have a shared experience of sorts as a minority in a (currently) Anglo-majority American context. //

Mar 182010

Through my work with Leadership Network, I’ve had incredible times to connect with church leaders all around the United States, and even a few around the world. I love to connect people to people and people to resources. The resource I want to connect you with is this new book by Scott Wilson, Steering Through Chaos: Mapping a Clear Direction for Your Church in the Midst of Transition and Change.

Scott Wilson is pastor of The Oaks Fellowship just south of Dallas. I first met him in Dallas at the Multi-Site Churches Leadership Community that I’m a part of managing, along with the church’s leaders, which included Justin Lathrop. What I love is the inviting vibe of their leaders, doing amazing things (by the grace of God) as a fast-growing church while also being personable, relational, and accessible. That’s what came through to me in my interactions with Scott and Justin, and this came through in Scott’s new book too. (cf. Download a sample chapter of Steering Through Chaos)

Watch this video of Scott Wilson talk about the book (cf. extended version):

What caught my attention with Steering Through Chaos were these things:

(1) Scott quotes so many other people in this book, like a synthesis of all that he’s gleaned from other church leaders! I didn’t fact-check, but the acknowledgements section would be dozens of pages if he were to list all the names of leaders mentioned in the book!

(2) Scott shares his own story of going through a massive church transition, that included relocation, building campaign, leadership transitions, personal challenges, and managing healthy relationships. This narrative approach sure makes the underlying principles much more understandable and practical. Yes, this book covers a lot of ground.

(3) The book speaks to personal health. In an early chapter, the author lists a stress chart to honestly show the reality of what changes do to people, and doesn’t ignore or overlook this in the name of being “spiritual” or bieng a “leader.” Being emotionally healthy is vital for short-term and long-term success, for both personal and organizational health. And, it means getting the help you need, whether a life coach, counselor, or whatever. I’m glad this is weaved in throughout the book.
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Feb 032009

Continuing the series on “Developing emotional maturity – part 6 of many”. [cf. part 1: what is emotional maturity? part 2: how to develop emotional maturity; part 3: spiritual maturity; part 4: emotional intelligence; part 5: emotional immaturity]

Rhett Smith is putting together a great series of blog posts about depression. Not just depression in general, but taking a closer look at depression, burnout, and ministry.

[note: this is my personal opinion] What does depression have to do with emotional maturity? It’s about being emotionally honest. We all have struggles and difficulties in life — I don’t recall ever hearing someone exclaim, “Oh, life is so easy, it’s a cake walk!” Each one of us need a safe place to talk about the issues and burdens of life. Depression is one of those issues. Unfortunately, many (most?) cultures and contexts stigmatize these kinds of emotional and/or psychological issues, so that it is difficult to go for help and healing. As if the emotional issue wasn’t tough enough to manage already.
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Oct 212008

Continuing the series on “Developing emotional maturity – part 3 of many”. [cf. part 1: what is emotional maturity? part 2: how to develop emotional maturity]

Peter Scazzero is one of the few authors that compellingly connect spiritual maturity and emotional life. Since he’s got a couple of published books, that lends reliability and rings authoritative more than articles I’ve found randomly on the internet. [ cf. official website,, has resources for individuals, groups, and even church-wide; video introduction to emotionally healthy spirituality ]

Jay’s Library noted these 4 points from Peter Scazzero’s book, The Emotionally Healthy Church [read Jay's comments too]::

  1. It Is Impossible To Be Spiritually Mature Without Being Emotionally Mature.
  2. To Be Emotionally Mature You Must Be Willing To Look Beneath The Surface.
  3. To Be Emotionally Mature You Must Go Backward To Go Forward.
  4. To Be Emotionally Mature You Must Learn To Manage Pain.

Ginger comments about Scazzero’s Emotionally Healthy Spirituality book ::
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Oct 142008

Continuing the series on “Developing emotional maturity – part 2 of many”. [cf. part 1: what is emotional maturity?]

I think I’m (mostly) right there are (practically) no book titles with the words “emotional maturity.” There are a few self-published books about this topic. Strange.
And, there are quite a number of books on “emotional intelligence” and on “emotional health“. 2 that makes the vital connection between spiritual life and emotions are Peter Scazzero’s Emotionally Healthy Church and Emotionally Healthy Spirituality.

Turning to the web, here’s a couple things I found on how to develop emotional maturity. When looking at information on the web, it’s not automatically reliable, even if it is in the wisdom-of-crowds moderated Wikipedia. Or, shall I say, especially if. Caution aside, here’s what the wisdom of the world wide web turned up about developing emotional maturity.

eHow‘s has this article with 4 steps to emotional maturity:
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