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How do I Prepare for Sundays?

KN stage shot.jpgI recently finished up hosting a pre-conference gathering at a Missions Conference in So-Cal, hosted by Dr. David Platt and Francis Chan.  I was super blessed to have a chance to interview a once-in-a-generation type leader, David Platt (Watch the FB LIVE video)

However, my most memorable time was joining a panel with SUPER SHARP church gurus sharing to a room full of influencing church leaders.  We were invited to participate in a Q/A forum where we were asked a series of real-life-minsitry questions.  I absolutely loved the dialogue between the 3 of us.  I basically had front row seats and learn so many practical ways they served their church.  At one point, I began taking notes while sitting on the panel.  

Question #1: How do you prepare for Sundays?

At one point a thought provoking question was asked, “How do you prepare for Sundays?”  I could have given your typical and proper answer: pray, read your bible, and pray some more.  But, I wanted to be more helpful than some parrot-like response.  I wanted to take the time here to share how I responded.  Pretty much, this is my WEEKEND PRAYER as I’m driving to church.  While football players have their locker room ritual to prep for the BIG GAME on Sunday, this is my Sunday drive-time ritual.  Father, will you…

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  • Anoint me with the gift of PROPHECY.  Now, this is where I may get lit up by my reform brothers.  In short, I take the position that prophecy is the communication of Biblical truths in an eloquent, encouraging, and convicting manner.  (Listen to John Piper’s brief audio response on this topic).  

Before I speak, preach, or teach, I’ve already prepared ahead of time my talking points.  I’ve written it down and gone over them in my head.  Yet, sometimes the Spirit is leading me to say something else.  No, not something WAY OUT OF LEFT FIELD where it’s not in my vocabulary.  But, there may be a Bible verse, a phrase, or a story that “pops” up in my mind, just at the right time, extemporaneously.  And that “phrase” will probably be the one line someone remembers that week.  

Read More…


Advancing a Cause. Pushing the Urgency.

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blog contributionThis is a blog contribution to the Thirty.Network conversation.  Read more about the Dream and why I am passionate about it.  Below is my personal experience coming from the FIRST Thirty Gathering in So-Cal.  


Not too long ago, I ran across this picture-only book, East Meets West by Yang Liu (YES, I am big fan of books with fewer words). The author attempted to depict intercultural dynamics between the Eastern-Asian culture versus the Western-Anglo culture. Some of the illustrations may be a bit exaggerated, I thought this picture (above) resonated most with me. Read more HERE and see which ones you gravitate towards.

After I wrestled through my own identity, God made it very clear that He gave me East and West experiences in order to prepare me for this season of ministry at Saddleback Church.

Being the first Asian-American campus pastor in a predominantly Western-Anglo church, I was received and accepted with open arms. It was liberating and refreshing to be invited into a church culture that was obviously anointed by God and pursuing His mission all the time.

However, it wasn’t always easy navigating a church culture that didn’t think like me.

Above, the blue picture represented how Western cultures deal with problems. On the other hand, the red picture, describes how “I” was indirectly taught to handle problems.

You can only imagine how one could struggle with leading staff, teaching members, resolving conflict with volunteers, or leading up to elders and pastors. Yikes!

But God is always gracious. There was saving grace in the loving people he placed around me at the church, and my awesome team that supported my leadership style.

I strongly believe that’s why I am so passionate about activating a new generation of Asian-American leaders who will wholeheartedly serve the church. The world’s population is changing fast, becoming more urbanized, diversified, and modernized. Especially in America, we are seeing the population becoming more Asian-ized. Recent census data and demographic research report a population growth of over 40% in the last 10 years, exceeding Latino Americans (see DJ Chuang’s article at

I’ve been privileged to receive mentoring from great leaders and organizations. Through this journey of learning, I am always reminded of King David, “For David, after he had served God’s purpose in his own generation, died, …” (Acts 13:36a NET).

Before I die, I want to run as fast as I can in advancing Asian-American leadership for the ever-growing diverse churches in America. We are to be stewards of developing leaders to better pastor the next 30 years.

This February, I helped host the first Thirty.Network Gathering. 30 Asian-American church leaders, recommended by credible pastors, gathered together for 30 hours to listen, learn, and lead change in advancing Asian-American church leaders for the next 30 years. The intent was to provide a SPACE for healthy conversations in sharpening each other in cross-cultural communications, leadership development, and strategic planning in a peer-to-peer learning environment.

30 hours was way too brief, but I did walk away with 30 gold nuggets. I made 30 new friends and co-laborers who will help me better serve my local church and use my influence, resources, and time to help shape the future for the next 30 years.

My hope is that you can find your own fulfillment and identity with the Thirty.Network. Join the conversation and help shape the next 30 years.



Incubation: Multiplication by Addition (Part 1)

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I love Ed Stetzer and my dear ministry partner, Ray Chang. Lots of gold nuggets in this article in Christianity Today. It’s something I strive to do with our church Saddleback Church Irvine South.

Was there anything you gleaned from this short read?


Several months ago, we launched our first church planter cohort.[1] Seven church planters sat around tables, each one sharing his vision for launching a new church. As each planter shared his background and story, I began to hear a common theme around these church planters. Out of the seven, five had already planted a church, but the church was unable to sustain and flourish. Each story was filled with pain, frustration and helplessness.

One planter was given orders from his senior pastor to plant a church in two weeks. He could ask anyone in the two week time frame and was given a two months salary to launch a church. Another planter left a large mega-church where he served on staff as the youth and college ministry pastor. After expressing his desire to plant a church, the senior pastor let him go without support or help. The next planter shared the story of starting off at a local college campus, where they started reaching the campus, but they soon realized that without a financial base of families, the church began to shrink and resources ran dry. The fourth planter shared how he had departed from an immigrant church with a co-planter and began to wander aimlessly for six years with a core of 30 people. There was little outreach and all the core members lived 20 miles away.

Finally, the most heart-breaking story came from the last planter, who shared his vision of planting in one of the most difficult parts of the city… READ MORE HERE

9 Things About Asian American Christianity | The Exchange | A Blog by Ed Stetzer

Quick post for the morning.   My awesome friend and co-laborer in the ministry shares some interesting facts for Asian Americans.

DJ Chuang has spent most of his life being the voice and connector for diversity and multi-ethnic ministries.  He’s usually the first to report facts about AA trends.  Here’s an excerpt from the article in Ed Stetzer’s blog:

4. Asian Americans are more educated and have higher median family income than any other racial groups; but that’s not the whole picture. On the one hand, Asian Americans have a lot of latent capacity to be developed for greater and wider impact, but on the other hand, statistics about Asian Americans has often been misused by overgeneralizing and perpetuating the “model minority” myth. The reality is that there many who have achieved much educationally and financially, but there are also significant numbers of Asian Americans are disadvantaged and struggling, especially among Southeast Asians and smaller Asian groups.

5. 64% of Asian Americans speak English very well. Language fluency is a good indicator of cultural fluency, but it’s not necessarily determinant of how someone will respond to spiritual things. I’ve heard that a good missionary practice is to present spiritual truths in the heart language of a person, but in the American context, English can be very effective in presenting the Gospel, if done in a contextualized manner and not merely a generic “color-blind” manner. Briefly speaking, contextualizing means recognizing the diversity in people’s backgrounds and socializing; that is to say, “all-American” sports analogies will not connect with all Americans.

6. 42% of Asian Americans self-identify as Christian, that is, 22% Protestant and 19% Catholic. Note that these survey results also indicate that 75% of the U.S. general public self-identify as Christians. Take a closer look at the numbers across ethnic lines, and you’ll notice something very different for each ethnic group. As the chart illustrates, the most churched are Filipino Americans and Korean Americans, with a majority of Filipino being Catholic and Korean being Protestant.

Read the whole article here: 9 Things About Asian American Christianity | The Exchange | A Blog by Ed Stetzer.

Facts for Features: Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month – U.S. Census Bureau

Facts for Features: Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month: May 2013 - Facts for Features & Special Editions - Newsroom - U.S. Census Bureau

Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month: May 2013

In 1978, a joint congressional resolution established Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. The first 10 days of May were chosen to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants (May 7, 1843) and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed May 10, 1869. In 1992, Congress expanded the observance to a monthlong celebration. Per a 1997 Office of Management and Budget directive, the Asian or Pacific Islander racial category was separated into two categories: one being Asian and the other Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. Thus, this Facts for Features contains a section for each.


18.2 million

The estimated number of U.S. residents in 2011 who were Asian, either alone or in combination with one or more additional races.
Source: 2011 Population Estimates Table 3 <>. For additional information, see <>.

5.8 million

The Asian alone or in combination population in California in 2011. The state had the largest Asian population, followed by New York (1.7 million). The Asian alone-or-in-combination population represented 57 percent of the total population in Hawaii.
Source: 2011 Population Estimates Table 5 <>. For additional information, see <>.


Percentage growth of the Asian alone or in combination population between the 2000 and 2010 censuses, which was more than any other major race group.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File, Custom Table 3, <>. For additional details, see Hoeffel, E., S. Rastogi, M. Kim, and H. Shahid. 2011. The Asian Population: 2010, U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census Briefs, C2010BR-11, available at<>.

4 million

Number of Asians of Chinese, except Taiwanese, descent in the U.S. in 2011. The Chinese (except Taiwanese) population was the largest Asian group, followed by Filipinos (3.4 million), Asian Indians (3.2 million), Vietnamese (1.9 million), Koreans (1.7 million) and Japanese (1.3 million). These estimates represent the number of people who reported a specific detailed Asian group alone, as well as people who reported that detailed Asian group in combination with one or more other detailed Asian groups or another race(s).
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2011 American Community Survey, Table B02018 <>

Read more… Facts for Features: Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month: May 2013 – Facts for Features & Special Editions – Newsroom – U.S. Census Bureau.

Making the Most of your Networks


Excerpts from a recent workshop presentation with Asian American Leadership Conference, March 2013.

This process of understanding and utilizing effective NETWORKING skills has been more of a personal journey where I struggled between the tensions of personal branding vs. forging new friendships.  A key verse helped advocate the use of networks for me, Phil 2:3-4, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

Likewise, after understanding the reason for Paul’s letter to the Roman church, his interaction shows an explicit Biblical demonstration for Networking – cf. Romans 15:14 – 16.

  •  Take Away #1 Share Your Story
    15:15 – Yet I have written you quite boldly on some points to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me
  • Take Away #2 Clear Long Term Intentions  (Life Mission Statement)
    15:20 – It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. 
  • Take Away #3 Immediate Desires
    15:24 –  So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this contribution, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way.
  • Take Away # ASK, ASK, ASK, ASK, ASK
    15:30-33 –  I urge you, brothers and sisters,… Join me… Pray… contribution favorable… come to you in joy… be refreshed in your company…
  • Take Away #5 List References (aka Name Dropping)
    Romans 16 = linkedin connections
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Networking Continuum

When networking, I categorize 5 areas in a continuum that drives towards an ASK.  The Sphere begins with either virtual and/or physical sphere of influence….

In conclusion, I want to present 5 thoughts to consider for more effective networking.  And NO, this is not an exhaustive list.

  • Personal Branding = Professional Identity

My Personal brand is the composite impression that comes to mind when someone hears my name or sees my picture.” [1]  What’s your story?

  • Friendships or Prospects

When do you “become all things to all men”?  When are you “wise and careful, making the most use of your time?”  Do you have a selection process – personal guidelines?

  • Social capital is about the value of social networks [2]

The term social capital emphasizes not just warm and cuddly feelings, but a wide variety of quite specific benefits that flow from the trust, reciprocity, information, and cooperation associated with social networks. Social capital creates value for the people who are connected and – at least sometimes – for bystanders as well. [3]

  • Body Language

Be careful of the dead fish handshake.  What was memorable of your personal encounter (expressive vs introverts)?  Did you fold your arms, open your hands?  How was the eye contact?

  • How can I find you?

Do you have an ugly business card?  Did you incriminate yourself on your Facebook page?  Is your Linkedin even updated?  DO YOU WAN TO BE FOUND?

The Rise of Asian Americans | Pew Social & Demographic Trends

The Rise of Asian Americans | Pew Social & Demographic Trends

From the PEW Research Center…

Asian Americans are the highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group in the United States. They are more satisfied than the general public with their lives, finances and the direction of the country, and they place more value than other Americans do on marriage, parenthood, hard work and career success, according to a comprehensive new nationwide survey by the Pew Research Center….

—- the article continues with more stats, bolstering the “awesomeness” of what AA are achieving across the board socio-economically, financially, academically, etc…

HOWEVER, right in the middle of the article, the RELIGIOSITY description reports this….

“The religious identities of Asian Americans are quite varied. According to the Pew Research survey, about half of Chinese are unaffiliated, most Filipinos are Catholic, about half of Indians are Hindu, most Koreans are Protestant and a plurality of Vietnamese are Buddhist. Among Japanese Americans, no one group is dominant: 38% are Christian, 32% are unaffiliated and 25% are Buddhist. In total, 26% of Asian Americans are unaffiliated, 22% are Protestant (13% evangelical; 9% mainline), 19% are Catholic, 14% are Buddhist, 10% are Hindu, 4% are Muslim and 1% are Sikh. Overall, 39% of Asian Americans say religion is very important in their lives, compared with 58% of the U.S. general public.”

ONLY 22% are Protestant professing Christians!  What are your thoughts on this?  Read on …. The Rise of Asian Americans | Pew Social & Demographic Trends.

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