Month: August 2013

Small Groups Matter

I’ve been thinking a lot about our small groups at Aroma. Small groups are a very important aspect of the ministry here, because 1) they help us connect on a deeper level, 2) they meet at various times throughout the week so that people who can’t make it on Sunday can still get involved, 3) they give us chances to go deeper into the Bible and learn more, and 4) they offer opportunities for more people to step up in leadership.

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Here’s a brief outline of how we want small groups to go and grow at Aroma.

  1. Community in small groups.
    1. This means, we want to care for our friends throughout the week and make sure everyone feels connected and loved.
    2. In the future, we are going to find new ways to make sure everyone is connected. We are also going to try new activities, like prayer partners, or spending time together outside of small group while being intentional.
  2. Content for small groups.
    1. This means we want our small groups to be a place where people can learn and grow together. We want to have people be challenged to understand the Bible more.
    2. In the future, we are going to provide better content for small groups while still giving groups the ability to adapt as they need to in order to fit their own group style. We are also going to provide resources for discipleship and deeper Bible learning even beyond small group meeting times.
  3. Christ-likeness through small groups.
    1. We want our small groups to grow in prayer and worship. We also want small groups to serve.
    2. In the future, small groups are going to help with Action for Jesus, our outreach program, by having a monthly theme to work on throughout group times together. They are going to be challenged to pray for each other and worship together, too. The idea is that each small group is like a mini church.

What ideas would you add to this?

A Letter to My Son – Fathered by God

I’ve started reading a book called “Fathered by God.”

In it, John Eldredge (author of Wild at Heart) outlines the stages of life-growth for men:

  1. Boy: When a boy learns he is the apple of his Father’s eye.
  2. Cowboy: When a boy learns a thirst for adventure and for that he has what it takes.
  3. Warrior: When a young man learns to fight for a cause.
  4. King, Lover: When a man learns to lead and that his primary love connection in life is with God.
  5. Sage: When a man learns to pass on all of his experience and wisdom to the next generation through coaching.

I’m 62 pages in (read that in one day) and feel I need to get back to a goal I had set for myself when I read Michael Nichols’A Letter to My Son.” I’m going to write a letter Enoch Andrew, my beloved son.

Enoch is 78 days old today.  That’s 112,320 minutes.

Enoch

Dear Enoch,

Enoch, my dear son, I’ve only known you for a couple of months, but I’ve been dreaming about you for years.  I still remember premarital counseling, when they asked.  We said we would have kids, but I had no idea how amazed and overwhelmed with joy I would be when you finally came.  First, I hated waiting for you.  You came out a little bit later than we had planned, and that’s the way life is sometimes… we make a plan and then it has to change.  I just want you to know that when you came out, finally, I cried.  I cried with joy because you are the most precious thing in the world.

I’m the kind of guy who likes to storm the hill and get things done, but there’s the weird draw to just spend time with you.  Enoch, at 78 days old, you occupy more of my time, thoughts, and affection than most other things in this world.  I can already tell you’re smart.  I can already tell you’re strong. You amaze me daily with all you are and do. And I get the feeling you’re not going to stop. You smile and laugh with me. I love you. Not even because you do anything to earn it. You’re just my boy. And I love you.

You’re my boy.  You’re my main man, and I can’t wait… can’t wait for us to do life together.  Just today your mother and I took you biking.  I strapped you onto my chest and we rode U-bikes around Taipei (first 30 minutes free ;-)).  We’re going to have adventures, that’s for sure.  Today was just the beginning tip of the iceberg. And soon you’re going to grow up, and you may run into something you see that’s not right (I bet you have your mother’s heart for justice).  You’ll get a cause, and you’ll fight for it.  That warrior heart is something that God gives each of us.  It’s a blessing.  It’s a powerful weapon, and I know you’ll use it for good.  I know you’re going to be full of life and walk with God and you’re going to do amazing things.  As you grow in wisdom and stature among men and God, you’ll get to the point where God puts you in a place, and places, of leadership.  You’ll learn intimacy with him.  You’ll learn that God is your ultimate source of strength and Father. Eventually, you’ll find a life partner to do the next steps with.  She’ll be kind and gentle, but strong. She’ll be smart, perhaps smarter than you, which may be scary.  She’ll be passionate.  She’ll love Jesus, and, again, probably more than you.  These are good things, and not unlike your mother.

Which brings me to my next points.  On this journey, there are some important things to remember.  First, God is good. He’s good all the time.  He loves you, and even if/when I mess things up, stay close to Him.  He’s THE Father.  Remember who you are comes from Him.  Specifically, Enoch was a man who walked with God (Genesis 5:24), and Andrew was a friend of ours who lived an abundant life.  These are promises spoken over you daily.  Next, is to remember your mother.  She’s seriously the best.  And you better respect her and love her.  This is my first threat to you. Let’s put it this way, just make sure you respect, honor, and love your mother as the amazing woman she is.  This goes hand in hand with loving the rest of your family, immediate and extended.  Third, is friends.  You’ll have good ones and bad ones.  Love them all, but choose carefully who you let into your inner circle. You’re going to be salt and light to all of them, but make sure your eyes are first and foremost lifted to heaven, learning from THE Father how to navigate the difficult relationships and situations you’ll find yourself in. School, work, and romantic relationships won’t be easy, but I promise that you are my beloved son, and you have what it takes, because Jesus has already chosen you and given you all you need. You’ll know what you want and you’ll go after it.  That’s pretty awesome. I can already see you storming the meeting room, or climbing the mountain, or killing the wild beasts. You’re going to work hard and pour yourself out for the cause and calling the Lord gives you.  Make sure you do it from the sense of identity, purpose, and gifting that He gives you.

Above all, remember, you’re beloved, my beloved.

Love,
Your Dad.

jesus calling: Aug 10

“be” in Jesus today! He’s calling everyday.

CYCLES

“be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil”

ephesians 5:15-16

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path”

psalm 119:105

RELAX IN MY HEALING, HOLY PRESENCE. ALLOW ME TO TRANSFORM YOU THROUGH THIS TIME ALONE WITH ME…TIME SPENT WITH ME NOT ONLY INCREASES YOUR TRUST; IT ALSO HELPS YOU DISCERN WHAT IS IMPORTANT AND WHAT IS NOT….

ENERGY AND TIME ARE PRECIOUS, LIMITED ENTITIES…I WILL SHOW YOU HOW TO SPEND YOUR TIME AND ENERGY.

During my last counseling session, my counselor and I talked a lot about emotional health, especially now that I was out of depression. One of the things I kept saying was how I needed to give myself for time and simply spend more time being. During depression, everything was a big deal. But even now, in terms of…

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Objective and Subjective Truth (中文版:主觀跟客觀的真理)

All of us have a story. We all are a story.

After church yesterday, while we were hanging around The Aroma (our coffee shop), a man came in named Will. He’s Malaysian by birth but has grown up for most of his life in London. He’s studying in university right now. He stopped by because he thought it felt “sort of Christian” and he had a few questions. He’s one of those thinker types, so it was a great conversation.

Near the end of our conversation, it hit me: what Will is looking for is a subjective truth experience to validate the objective truth that he’s pursuing while looking at the possibility of making a faith commitment to Christ.

In fact, we are all on a journey. I wanted to write a quick post just to encourage you in yours.

Regardless of what you’re after, it’s important to understand it in two ways: objectively and subjectively.

For a follower of Jesus, the objective truth is that Jesus was really a man who really claimed to be God and really died. There’s also a lot of objective evidence pointing to the resurrection.

The subjective truth is the experience of what happens to you when you make a decision to follow Christ. The change in your life. Your attitudes change. Your thoughts change. Your reactions change. These can’t be proven and may barely stand in a court of law, but it’s pretty difficult to deny the existence of the subjective truth you’ve experienced in your personal life. And it’s hard to deny that truth found in others.

Instead of denying subjective and objective truth, learn that they can teach each other, and can be reliable in their own ways.

Learn to embrace the objective truth of the textbook you’re reading on starting a new company, and ask for subjective revelation about how that works in your life. You’ll see that the objective truth has taught your subjective life and your subjective understanding will re-validate the objective truth.

We need both!

Ultimately, the Bible says it’s the Holy Spirit that “lead[s] [us] into all truth” (John 16:13). This is why Jesus real worshipers worship in “Spirit and in Truth.”

In your quest for “heaven in business” or “heaven in whatever-it-is-that-you-do,” find something “objective” and see how it connects with the “subjective.” My hypothesis, and prayer, is that Jesus will teach you this hour, day, week, month and year!

 

每個人心中都有一個故事,而我們本身同時也是個故事

昨天教會結束後,大家一如往常在馨香堂咖啡店聊天,有個在倫敦長大的馬來西亞人走進來,他的名字叫威爾,是個大學生,而奇妙的是他為什麼會想走進來,是因為這邊”有耶穌的感覺”,他也像我一樣內心有很多想法跟疑問,所以我們聊的很愉快。

在談話進入尾聲之際,威爾說了些讓我很震驚的話,他說想親身體驗一些神蹟奇事來驗證大家所說的”真理”,在決定自己要不要完全的信靠耶穌基督。

事實上,我們都在一段追尋真理的旅程中,而我想寫一些想法來鼓勵在這段路上的你們。

不管你在追尋的是什麼,我覺得有兩件事是非常重要的,主觀跟客觀的。

對於耶穌的追隨者來說,客觀的真理就是耶穌他曾經真的是人而且自稱為上帝和為我們死在十架上,並有許多客觀的證據得以證實祂死而復生。

而主觀的真理便是當你決定要跟隨耶穌後所經歷的,生命中的改變,可能是你的態度、想法、反應。這些可能不能經易被證實且在很多人面前站的住腳,但是你很難去否認你自己還有別人親身經歷的真理。

如果我們不去否認主觀或是客觀的真理,會慢慢發現可以從中學到些什麼,也會發現兩者都是可以追尋的。

當你為了開一間新公司而讀些讀物時,你要學習去接納這些客觀的真理,而且要去問祂,將來主觀的真理將會如何作工,你會發現客觀的真理是如何教導你的主觀人生,然後主觀的領會將會再次印證客觀的真理。

我們需要它們兩者! 缺一不可!

最後我想提一下約翰福音16章13節說到,真理的聖靈 “引導我們懂一切的真理”,這就是為什麼真正的敬拜者是用心靈跟真理在敬拜耶穌的。

當你在追求 “天國的事業”或是 “任何有關天國的事業”,不要忘了尋求客觀的真理而且尋求它跟主觀的真理中的關聯,我想並祈求基督會無時無刻的教導著你們。

Are you “Restless?” (中文版)

Sbrocca’s book on “entering your personal promised land” is filled to the brim, dare I say overflowing, with practical systems for aligning yourself with what God is doing in your life.

The miracle part of this book review starts all the way back in February 2013. I signed up for the “Heaven in Business” conference hosted by Bethel. The plan was to listen to the speakers and begin praying for Heaven in Business including the work I was doing for an English school at the time as well as my primary ministry/business focus: The Aroma.

Rick Sbrocca’s session detailed one part of the book and gave away free copies. So I chased down the organizer of the event via email and found out they were actually willing to ship it to me.

Wait four months. Nothing.

I reopened my conversation with them and a second copy of the book was sent my way (both copies were sent for free). I received the book and in it was a handwritten letter from Rick himself with a prayer just for me. I’m not sure if he does this for everyone, but it sure made me special. A highly successful businessman (his current firm went from $4,000,000US to $16,000,000US within a couple of years, I believe) taking the time and energy to connect with me personally was touching. Not to mention the $18 shipping charge they paid out of pocket as well.

All that to say, there was something genuine about this book from the beginning. Now, when I say it’s full of systems, I have to admit that I’ve not done all of them yet. I feel working through the book more slowly is better than trying to rush through it all so that I could say I finished reading it. I’ve not read the whole thing yet, but I wanted to encourage you to try to get ahold of a copy yourself.

Sbrocca is a powerful storyteller and begins with a chapter that carves out a story of a prodigal.

He moves on to outline the following:

  • The 7 R’s of Rest
  • The 7 F’s of Freedom
  • The 7 V’s of Victory
  • The 7 C’s of Champion

Each of these systems, if on their own, would be enough to keep me metricising my life for months to come.  Needless to say, I’ll be in this book for a while.  Each section has lots of anecdotal help along with room for personal reflection and even space to write out thoughts.  It’s really more of a workbook.

So far, my favorite piece to work through was an acronym he created called “PAUSE.”  He uses this to maintain a close watch on his inner life so as to maintain perpetual connection to the lifesource, his relationship with Father God. The idea is to be measuring and to continually be aware of what’s happening.

Restless Book Cover

絲貝若卡的“進入應許之地”的書,真是太好看,好看到滿出來了,其中有教實用的方法讓你跟神的作工密切的結合。

我覺得這本書最奇妙的事要從2013年2月講起,那時我參加了一個由貝索舉辦的 “天國的事業”講座,那時打算聽聽他會講什麼和為我的 “天國的事業”禱告,我那時除了在學校教英文還有我主要的傳道重心/事業:馨香堂

絲貝若卡里客的講座主要是詳細講述書的一個部份和送些書,所以我寄了封電子郵件給此活動的籌辦人,而他願意寄一本給我。

我苦等了一個月卻毫無音訊。

我只好再跟他們聯絡,他們又重新寄了一本免費的給我,我收到書的時後發現裡面有一封為我祈禱的信,是里克本人親手寫的,我不確定他是不是會為每個人寫信,但確實還是讓我覺得很特別,讓我感動的是一個如此成功的商業人士願意花他的時間和力氣寫信給我(我相信他現在的身價在幾年之間已經從之前的四百萬美金攀升到一千六百萬),更不用說他們還花了十八塊美金的運費寄書給我!

我想說的是,這本書確實有它厲害的地方在。我必須承認我還沒實踐完這整本書,雖然我一直在說這本書有多棒有多好,但是我屬於慢慢的實行而不是急著把整本書的方法都做一遍,雖然我看完這本書了,不過還沒參透整本書,即便如此我還是想鼓勵你們看這本書。

我不得不說絲貝若卡是一個很厲害的說故事者,而這本書的第一章大致上刻劃出了整本書的大綱。

之後開始進入書的主軸

  • 七種寧靜

  • 七種自由

  • 七種勝利

  • 七種冠軍

之後的幾個月,這幾個方法都足以讓我來檢視自己,更不用說我還會花幾個月來看這本書,每個章節都有些奇聞軼事,或是些小區塊讓你記下對這段的看法更甚者,會給你一塊空間去發揮你的想法,這絕不僅僅只是本規範手冊。

目前為止我最想實踐的是一個他創造的取首字母縮寫詞“PAUSE”,他用這詞持續檢視他的心靈,為了能維持跟生命之源─耶穌基督之間永恆的關係,這構想是為了能夠審視和持續意識到正在發生的事情。

我想鼓勵你們讓自己進入一個神賜與的應許之地,因為那裡充滿著寧靜、自由和勝利。神渴望給予你祂的寧靜。

Holding Enoch

Do you know how much God loves you?  The more I hold my son, the more I realize how great God’s love is for us.  There’s just this feeling that comes over you.

Jesus says that the Father loves us very much.  Take a minute, right now, to remember the fact that Our Father in Heaven loves you more than you know.

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