Dec 282012

// This is the original manuscript of my talk shared at Urbana 12 PANA Lounge (Pan Asian North Americans) today — watch video //

Right now at Urbana 12 there are over 6000 Asians and Asian North Americans. We’re now living in the 21st century and communication is wide open for everyone. Social media gives anyone and everyone a voice, and yet it still elusive for people to find the real life stories of Asian North Americans who are zealous for Jesus Christ. As successful as we are as a racial grouping, the most educated and the most wealthy as a group, our voice online is rather muted and hard to find. We can change that by raising our voices together!

Imagine this – every day between now and the next Urbana 2015, one Asian person would share their life story openly, how Jesus Christ has made a difference, it only takes 1100 people, and we can raise our voice together to be a new generation of Asian people experiencing wholeness in Jesus Christ. We can break the power of shame. We can be the role models and examples that we all yearn to hear and see and know.

Allow me to share my story of freedom from shame.

When I became a Christian in high school, I wondered how God would use me. I was just a little guy, that’s how I saw myself, that’s still how I see myself. I didn’t have an amazing testimony like all the others I had heard. I wasn’t at the top of my class. I’m not an accomplished successful person. I didn’t have a sensational conversion of being an ex-convict.

Like many of you, I want to know God’s will for my life. I’m now 46 years old, and I think I’m just beginning to discover the answer. 

My family immigrated from Taiwan to the United States when I was 8 years old. I’m the oldest of 3 boys. My parents are Chinese and we spoke Mandarin at home. Our family was very traditional and not religious. Our family ran a small motel business in a small town of 20,000, in Winchester, Virginia. Being the oldest son came with expectations of being the responsible one, with hopes for success and bringing honor to the family name.

Life was a very predictable narrative: go to college, get a degree, get a job, get a house, get married. Then have some babies and start a family, raise them to go to college, etc etc etc. It’s all very simple. Just add water, rinse, lather, repeat. It’s the Asian American circle of life.

But I thought there had to be more to this life. I was introduced to Jesus Christ by a truck driver staying at our motel and he shared the Gospel with me. I heard that Jesus promised an abundant life, and I wanted that.

I just didn’t know how to get it. I wanted to be sure of my faith before I took the next step. And I had my hangups and fears. I was a timid person, easily intimidated, unsure of myself. I’m not a practical person like everyone else in my immediate family, so I felt bad about that, and I felt bad about feeling bad.

What I knew was how to be responsible. I studied computer engineering at Virginia Tech. I was doing the right things. I got a job as an engineer. God brought a retired Navy chief to disciple me. 

Then I took a leap of faith. I felt a call to ministry because I thought I was faithful, available and teachable. So I packed up all my worldly possessions and went to seminary. I graduated 4 and a half years later. Then I pastored for 5 years.

And then all of that came to an end. I felt so hurt and confused. The bottom fell out from underneath of my feet. I was humbled to the point where I had to ask for help. 

It’s humbling for anyone to be asking for help. It’s that much more humbling for an Asian person to ask for help because it shows weakness, it shows you’re not enough, it shows you’re not good enough, you’re not enough. Something is wrong with you. It’s not that you’ve made a mistake; not you’ve failed at something. It’s that you are a failure.

In that year of healing, I found a name to the sadness that clouded my thinking all of my life — I was diagnosed with clinical depression and bipolar disorder. Being on medication for this kind of thing is not all that different than being on medication for high blood pressure or diabetes.

Why do I share this with you? I share my life with you, warts and all, so that you can see Christ in me the hope of glory. 2 Corinthians 12:9 — Jesus said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

As I’m sharing a glimpse of my story of my own vulnerability, I’m actually in the midst of a very personal vulnerable time right now. It would be unwise and unhealthy for me to open the flood gates and share all my raw emotions and messiness — because being vulnerable doesn’t mean you dump all your junk on everyone everywhere.

Dr. Brene Brown (research professor at the University of Houston) has extensively researched the areas of shame and vulnerability. I highly recommend you watching her talks on Her research has found that shame is something we all have experienced; it’s that fear of disconnection and a feeling that one is never good enough and worth loving. And she discovered two differences between those who struggled with shame versus those who were free from power of shame: (1) they felt worthy of love and belonging, and (2) they embraced vulnerability.

You are worthy of love and belonging because God loves you, for just being you. Christ has done it all for you, your life is not about performing or measuring up. One of the most healing quotes I heard from Pastor Larry Osborne that’s stuck with me: You have no one to impress and nothing to prove.

And this is my invitation to you: step up, speak up, live it up.

Step up with a bold faith as you experience the love of God in every part of your life, and then you’ll be able to offer up every part of your life – your skills, strengths, as well as your weaknesses, pains, and limitations. Use everything you’ve got to make a difference in the world that only you can make. You don’t have to be a superstar, you don’t have to be number one, you just have to be you.

Secondly, speak up. Share your life story with people, start with those you can trust. And as you find courage and healing, share more of the story of your life. Lean into the power of social media, if it can overturn the government of countries, it can do so much more for the Kingdom of God!

And, lastly, live it up. We are to love the Lord our God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Your life is so much more than duty, obligation, and responsibility. Life it up with passion, zeal, joy, and enthusiasm. As a people, we’re really good at getting the grade, honing our intellect and skills. In the 21st century, the world needs more than just good knowledge, the world needs people who are fully alive with all their emotional intelligence and cultural intelligence.

When you are Asian American, you are more than merely American, more than Asian. In Christ, you’re even more than that. Show up in all that you are — your strengths and weaknesses, both successes and failures, your desires and dreams. Offer your life as a living sacrifice and live it up!

I want to be part of a tribe that’s all about erasing shame. We are not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, “because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…” especially for us as Asians and Asian North Americans. Let’s share our lives together for the glory of God and the healing of the nations.

Jun 152011

There are times when you want to get a message to someone and typing a text message takes too long or won’t fit in 140 characters. Or, you don’t have the time to talk on the phone so you don’t call because you’re not sure they won’t answer and you don’t want to wait for voicemail. And you don’t want to be “that guy” who calls someone in the middle of a meeting.

Talking is faster than texting. What if you can send a voice message?

There’s an emerging genre of mobile apps that let’s you send voice messages! These apps go by a different names, like: voice messenger, push-to-talk, touch-to-talk, walkie-talkie, voice notes, multimedia messaging. Here’s what’s out there:

KakaoTalk app on Android and iPhone. Send/receive text, photo, voice, video. 16 million users.

WhatsApp app on Android, iPhone, Blackberry, Nokia. Costs $1.99USD per year. 15 million users.

TiKL – app on Android and iPhone. 10 million users.

HeyTell – app on Android and iPhone. 4 million users.

TalkBox – app on Android and iPhone. [ed.note: I like the name, its simplicity, and easy-find of my Facebook friends] app on Android and iPhone. [ed.note: best looking design]

PingChat app on iPhone, Android, and Blackberry. Send/receive text, photo, video, voice notes.

Palringo app on iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Symbian, Windows mobile, and PC or Mac desktop. Send/receive text, voice, and photo. $$ for extra features. [ed.note: seems like a multi-network IM that can send audio]

CloudTalk app on iPhone and Android, has multi-media messaging (voice, text, photo, video) and public forum to meet new people.

Voxer app on iPhone only. Send/receive text, voice, photo, location. Android app on the development road map.

Jawbone Thoughts – sender must have the iPhone app, receiver can listen via app or web

Voice/multi-media messaging could be the next big thing, and will be mainstream if more people get smartphones and install these apps. Down-side: it requires a smartphone with a internet data plan; instead of using minutes on your calling plan. These apps have been around for months, but, unfortunately, most people in my contacts aren’t “in network.” Yet. I’d love to connect. My username = djchuang.

My hunch is that many of these voice/multi-media messenger will be around, like how we still have multiple instant messenging networks, a la AOL, Yahoo, Google Talk, QQ, etc. Will Facebook or Google or Twitter get into the game or buy out one of these? We will see.

Feb 132010

With so many conferences in the world, I’m often asked which one to go to.

After attending a few conferences, some people begin to discover the value of these gatherings extend beyond the keynote talks and seminar lectures. What’s even more life-changing are the people you meet and the conversations you have.

At the Verge conference in Austin last week, I met Ryan Rice, who is now church planting in Phoenix. Ryan explained how life-changing the one-time-only Innovation3 Gathering was. Watch this video of Ryan Rice telling how that conference changed his life:

Next week, I’ll point you to 2 conferences especially configured so there’s intentional structured time for attendees to engage in more conversations and not only listening to talks.

Oct 242009

// [ update: my presentation and related links are over at the L2 Foundation blog - click here ] //

ConferenceOn November 30th and December 1st, I’ll be at the NA-CCOWE (North American Chinese Congress on World Evangelization) conference English Track: “The Challenges and Future of English Ministries. This is the first time that the conference will host a parallel track, along side of the Mandarin Chinese language track. (Note that the event itself runs from 11/3 to 12/4.)

I’ll be making a presentation in a workshop about next generation Asian American churches. Knowing the audience is primarily English ministry leaders within an ethnic Chinese church, I hope to explore what can be practically applied from what is working among next generation multi-Asian/multi-ethnic churches, adapted from my presentation shared on several other occasions.
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Oct 062009

Small talk is not my forte’. I can talk about weather or sports for maybe 30 seconds tops. Those are the conventionally safe topics. Work usually comes up early in the conversation, as in “what do you do?” People too quickly associate one’s identity with their work / profession / career.

There are some topics not good for small talk: “… it is not safe to discuss subjects that society deems controversial such as religion or politics.” Yet, politics get lots of air time, even though it’s controversial. Lots of mainstream media and social media time at that.

One British etiquette website describes what’s safe and not safe for small talk conversations:

Which topics are safe for small talk? …

- The weather, eg “It’s a lovely day today, isn’t it?”
- Sport, eg “Have you been watching Wimbledon?”
- Hobbies, eg “What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?”
- Work, eg “What sort of work do you do?”

… Which topics are best avoided for small talk? …

- Money, eg “How much do you earn?”
- Politics, eg “Who did you vote for at the last election?”
- Religion, eg “Do you believe in God?”


What about philosophy and religion? Now these two topics make for much more INTERESTING conversations!

Sep 252009

In this video conversation with Becky Knight, a sexologist and sex educator in the Charlotte, North Carolina area, we breach an often uncomfortable topic, “Why talking about sex is so hard?” Her website is and she twitters at

There you have it. Sounded to me like just do it, and start the conversation. No magical how-to. How have you talked about this subject with your peers? Your children?

Aug 132009

// [update] the talkcast was recorded and you can listen to it at the L2 Foundation blog >> //

I’ll be hosting a talkcast with a very special guest, James Choung, next Tuesday 8/18, at 3:00pm Pacific / 6:00pm Eastern.

On the talkcast, we’ll be talking about how to develop leaders among the next generation of Asian Americans: the opportunities, the challenges, and their incredible potential. A talkcast is like a call-in talk show, and so much more — you can listen on the web, talk on the show, or type in the chat room!
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Jul 102007

This polo shirt has been quite the conversation starter. Wore it on Sunday for church and home-hunting in Orange County, and effortlessly picked-up conversations with people along the way all day. (photo by Jeremiah)

Jeremiah's mom and dad

After church, ran into Stanley & Leslie Jee, and she recognized the pattern on the booth decor at the Georgia Aquarium cafe in the pix, and knows the person who designed the pattern! And then they treated us out to a great sushi dinner at Kabuki! (well, had you going there for a moment; they weren’t total strangers — they’ve known my wifey since the teen years.)

In the afternoon, talked at length with Art Scott, who gives great piano lessons in South OC. So if you’re in that area, or know of someone in that Aliso Viejo / Laguna Hills area, be sure to check out Piano Lessons by Art Scott. Turns out he is quite an organist and had several connections (like me) back to Virginia. He shared a great story about his first time in an airplane, which happened to be a private Lear jet. What a way to fly! (while convenient on the boarding, I think I prefer the smoother flights of a large plane like a 747, thought I can’t really say since I’ve never (yet?) flown on a private jet…)

And met 2 or 3 others who struck up conversations too b/c of the Virginia Tech logo, or maybe it was just the bright orange color that matches my orange Crocs on my feet, and makes me stand out like an orange traffic cone. (So, with response like that, I just had to order 3 more VT logo shirts.)