Month: July 2013

The Honda Motorcycle

Management and Leadership are two issues that have been running through my mind a lot.

In the past, there’s been a lot of discussion about how these two are alike, may differ, and how to correlate their interactions within the context of an organization.

The other day, while driving to work, this speedy large-engined Honda motorcycle zoomed past my slow 125cc scooter without any trouble. I thought to myself, there are two ways, I could look at getting to where I’m going.

1) use the scooter I have better. I could fine-tune the engine, learn the principles of acceleration and speedy driving techniques and eventually master my Kymco companion so as to maintain stride with the others on the rode. This would be pretty cost-effective in that add-ons and learning probably wouldn’t cost too much, but would certainly give me better performance. Tweaks are often about noticing nuance.

2) get a bigger scooter. If I bit the bullet and bought one of those 500cc or 1,000cc monsters, I could scream down the road, too. Of course, it would cost more, but but the ROI would be insane. Try to pass me now, Mr Honda.

Is it possible that management and leadership are comparable to my scooter situation? Perhaps, managers are the ones who fine-tune and adjust and squeeze everything of value of value out of the scooter (organization) they’re driving. They work well within that system and learn the reigns so as to master everything. They see the nuance.

On the other hand, leaders (and by nature entrepreneurs) may be the ones who simply say, get me a bigger motorcycle! Let me take on everyone else, not necessarily because I’m the best at what I do, but because I have invested in a bigger, game-changing piece of equipment, and I’m looking past this next stop light and to the 5,000km road ahead of us.

Leaders have a long-term vision and want to see growth. Managers are great at handling details and maximizing what’s currently happening. Which one are you?



Banks, Coffee Shops, and Tarot Cards

I went into the Taipei Fubon Bank in my neighborhood to deposit some money from the coffee shop.  They know I “opened” a coffee shop recently and so when I go in they often ask questions about how business is going and what not.  This time, she mentioned that there’s another foreigner who recently opened a coffee shop and does Tarot Card readings for people. In the same breath, she mentioned another foreigner who opened a coffee shop with curly hair.  Turns out, this girl is one of our teammates, Victoria.

The Tarot Card reading, I don’t know.

However, it got me thinking.  Everyone is doing something with their lives.  What are you doing with yours?  Are you doing something that moves people closer to Jesus, using your talents, gifts, and passion like our friend, Victoria?  Or are you doing something that confuses.

The choice is yours.  I hope more choose to be like Victoria, living life victoriously over the darkness.

Fubon Bank Queen's Road East Branch 富邦銀行

victoria and jamie

To the Spiritual…

There’s a lot of talk in Corinthians about spiritual and natural.

I was out walking Mochi today when I felt I might have forgotten bags to pick up his doggie dodo with. I was just beginning to worry a bit and remind myself that I actually did have bags when a usable plastic bag blew past me slowly.

I felt I heard God say, “I provide what you need when you ask and seek and knock.”


On Chinese Culture Pointing the way to Jesus’ Rule

Martin J on making sense of China (via BBC)

I read this article and asked myself… What is correct? What is God’s view? Maybe I’m too American and always looking for an answer to be one thing or another. Is he more nationalistic or more civilizational?

I see the idea of sovereignty found in Christ as being nationalistic. But I see the way he set up the disciples and challenged us to follow Him as many different groups and people’s as more civilizational. There’s no doubt it’s about a culture. Perhaps, Christianity is meant to be one nation many systems. Perhaps, Chinese culture gives us some insights into the way we should organize our churches to follow the one sovereign Christ.

Jesus did plainly outline the fact that He’s the head (Ephesians 5:23).

Jesus is the nation and he calls us to honor him regardless of what system we are in.

Cheers – The Old School Can Teach Us

I’m bringing it back to the old school with this one. Cheers is a TV series that started in 1982 and ran for 11 seasons. I grew up watching episodes with my parents. It depicts life at a local bar in Boston, what becomes a community center for some of the frequent patroners.

The main part of the theme song goes like this:

Sometimes you want to go 
Where everybody knows your name, 
and they’re always glad you came. 
You wanna be where you can see, 
our troubles are all the same 
You wanna be where everybody knows 
Your name. 


There’s a reason this is so powerful: community.

Everyone is seriously looking for a place where everyone knows your name.  A place where people are glad that you’re there.  Not just a place where you get used and abused, but a place where you feel loved and accepted.  For the people in the TV show it was a bar.  My hope and prayer is that Aroma is a place like that.


Live Supernaturally, Remember Testimonies

This is partially a summary of a great book by Bill Johnson, called “Release the Power of Jesus” but it’s far more than that.  We’ve been stressing the importance of testimonies at the Aroma and I think it’s important that I outline in writing why.

God says “Testimonies are the Spirit of Prophecy” (Revelation 19:10).

This means that when you hear a testimony, you need to understand that’s what God wants to do again.  He set a precedent.  He did it once, and he’ll do it again.

My greatest takeaway: Jesus has given us far more than we know, and we need to be constantly seeing, hearing and remembering what He’s done in order to have Hope, Faith and Love that it will happen again. Press in!

Johnson’s book spells out the importance of Testimonies. Here’s a quick outline of chapters

  1. Truth Empowers: Johnson recalls when he first encountered Revelation 19:10, and how the truth of remembering has effected the last 25 years of his life.  He says, “Our capacity to remember what god has said and done in our lives and throughout history–the testimony–is one of the primary things that determine our success or failure in sustaining a Kingdom lifestyle of power for miracles” (Johnson 26).
  2. Spending our Inheritance: We have unlimited resources at our disposal because of the inheritance promised to us in the context of our commission.  Psalm 119:11 says “I have inherited Your testimonies forever, for they are the joy of my heart.”  Spoken and written records of what God has done are our inheritance.  Testimonies reveal God and show us our heavenly resources.  Our original purpose was to be fruitful, multiply, fill the Earth, and subdue it (Genesis 1:28).  Jesus restored this and empowered our destiny, “from Glory to Glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
  3. Encountering His Mercy: We need Scripture and His Works to know him (John 5:31-40, 14:10), so Scripture is intended to lead us to an encounter with Him.  The breadth of the chapter explains Old Testament perspectives on the ark, covenant, going after God’s heart, and Testimony.
  4. Keeping the Testimony: Deuteronomy 6:6-9 explains that God’s word should be the substance of education, the primary topic of conversation, and the content of what’s posted around us.  We are to steward and remember the testimony.  “In unveiling the power of the testimony, God is not just giving us access to a principle of His Kingdom that works.  He is really giving us access to the knowledge of Himself.  Remember, in every story of what God has done, there is an unveiling of His nature and invitation to know Him experientially in the same way” (Johnson 83).
  5. Memories that Give Life: “Jesus led His disciples into continuous experiences with the miraculous.  Every occasion was designed to equip them for the next unexpected challenge they were to face and teach them the ways of His world…Testimonies must become the lens through which we see all reality” (Johnson 99-100).  Mark 6 shares two miracles: 1) multiplying food, and 2) calming a storm.  Mark 6:52 says that because the disciples hearts were hardened, they didn’t understand the fullness of the first miracle.  Thus, they were ill-equipped to conquer the next miracle – calming the storm – themselves.  There are at least three forms of spiritual perception in order of clarity: 1) seeing, 2) hearing, and 3) remembering.
  6. Courage to Leave a Legacy: “Christ commissioned us to go into our promised territory–all the world–and make disciples of the nations, displacing the influence of the kingdom of darkness and releasing the reality of the Kingdom of Heaven” (Johnson 111). The mandate for courage (Joshua 1:5-9) is empowered by “a growing awareness of God’s presence among us” (Johnson 113).  The breadth of this chapter is focused on stepping out in courage because of meditation on the testimony and presence of God. There is also an important section on living “un-offended,” that is building a case for what God has done rather than building a case against Him for what he hasn’t done.
  7. Living Under the Influence: We must remain continually exposed to miracles.
  8. The Power of Transformation: We are called to be kings and priests (Revelation 1:5) who “re-present the King and His Kingdom in order to put Earth into alignment with Heaven” (Johnson 158).  As we seek His wisdom like Solomon, we discover that “we are carriers of the answers to every problem in the world” (Johnson 159, Ephesians 3:8-12). Generational agreement (wherein Psalm 78 outlines four generations) is a key to unlocking a 100 year revival.  Redding, CA (where Johnson pastors a church) is seeing economic revival because of the wisdom of God and the power of testimony being released (Johnson 164).
  9. Releasing the Presence of God: “our great responsibility is to know God and make God known” (Johnson 167).  Obedience releases His presence, power and glory (Johnson 168).  we can release the presence of God, which contains the Kingdom of God through five activities: 1) laying on of hands, 2) proximity to anointing, 3) acts of faith, 4) prophetic acts, and 5) declaration. Heavenly mandates include: 1) love, 2) purity, 3) power, and 4) glory. Near the end of the book, Johnson quotes Spurgeon, “I think I may push it a little further and say what he has done once, is a prophecy of what he intends to do again…Whatever God has sone…is to be looked upon as a precedent” (Johnson 182, quoting Spurgeon).

Book Cover