PBF

He reminds me tonight

I felt this rebellious heart of mine wanting to harden itself towards God. Not in the fact that God exists but harden towards His Word and commands.  I started reading and came across this verse

HEB 3:12-13 ESV

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

I really enjoy reading those words “take care”. Its not the “hey..good seeing you! Take care!” It’s a deeper and heavier way of saying keep watch. Look over your heart and the condition of it. Whenever I see those two words in Scriptures it leads me to ask myself

How is your heart doing Judy?

Tonight..it was responding to me with potential signs of bitterness, weariness, laziness, rebellion and hardening. All these signs were in the department of discipline/shepherding.

Everybody loves seeing rewards and results in what they invest or pour their effort in. Setback and detours aren’t fun to witness. That goes the same for me in small group.

I began thinking and measuring the past few conversations I’ve had with my ladies. Many of them unresponsive to any exhortations or encouragement I’ve given them. It’s not necessarily a verbal response I care for..its the heart response that concerns me the most.

Like any human being when you try to speak truth with love for the benefit of their joy to increase and their faith to grow…you hope and pray for a heart response. When that hoped reaction doesn’t come..it does become disheartening and weary at times.

Why do I bother to keep them accountable? Why should I keep encouraging them? I can’t force them to fellowship with You God so then should I continue being that annoying CG leader who checks in and nudges them to keep going?

Then the verse came..

HEB 3:12-13 ESV

…. But exhort one another EVERY DAY, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Every day. Every day. Every day. Every day. Every day. Every day. Every day.

You have got to be kidding me Jesus.
EVERY DAY?!?!?!?!

Sounds so difficult at first and then I realized that the writer is charging us to exhort. Exhort one another every day.

He didn’t say:
Make sure they read the Word
Make sure they say their prayers
Make sure they obey the Word and what God commands.

He said exhort. Strongly encourage.

What I initially thought was difficult was actually quite doable once I read and paid closer attention.

I’m not called to be a successful CG leader. (whatever that looks like) I’m called to be faithful. I don’t want to use the word “simply” and call it “simply be faithful.” because it’s not a simple task. Its hard. Requires endurance..a resolved heart. Perseverance and determination. You pour all that in and if you seek the results..you’ll be disappointed. Bitter and disheartened.  I am called to be faithful. Not successful. Kinds like the famous idiom

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t force it to drink

I love these ladies. I love their souls even more. I love them to the point where I don’t care if they dislike me or find me annoying.

I do care tremendously if God finds me unfaithful disobedient and lukewarm. My goal in life….no day to day is that when I stand before God in regards to my account I want to hear more than anything:

‘Well done, good and faithful (not successful) servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

His Word tonight has watered the soul of my heart. Every word is God breathed. Tonight’s session was a much much much needed holy CPR. Replenished the dry cracks that were forming. Hallelujah. Praise be to God.

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Children are a gift

Sometimes..

I really believe that children..especially babies, know when someone needs a hug.  I met Chloe and got to hold her for the first time today. She came twice to me with a smile and it melted my heart.

Maybe she knew I love babies. My heart for a child and my loneliness since JP is gone. Whatever she knew, she acted and filled my heart richly with warmth.

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I love our Pathway kids. So precious and such a wonderful gift of life.

WEEKEND REVIEW: Team Fishcake & Team DdukBokki (Spicy Rice Cake)- 11/8-11/9 (BELATED)

It’s Thursday night that I post this ridiculously belated “Weekend Review”. Honestly, I still feel like I’m recovering from the weekend. I’ve never felt this slammed physically but full spiritually. I don’t think I’ll ever forget this weekend. It was a very memorable one indeed.

SATURDAY

OCC Planning meeting at the Lui residence. Since nobody knows whether JP and I will be at Pathway for OCC2015, it would be wise and beneficial for the church that we write some things down and plan out next year’s OCC. Isaac, my little chef buddy offered to make breakfast for me since I was their only guest that day. Granted he’s a young boy, I felt extremely flattered and touched by his offer.

Bacon, homemade blueberry pancakes, hashbrowns and french pressed coffee from Brasil.

Bacon, homemade blueberry pancakes, hashbrowns and french pressed coffee from Brasil.

It’s weird to actually go through these meetings (OCC, Retreat etc) and know in my head that this could be it. The last one. Even if we didn’t leave for MN during the summer, it would selfish and “going backwards” to coordinate these events again in 2015. Definitely a time of persevering hard to prepare and do the best that I can do and balancing that with, letting go-entrusting this to whoever may be the next person(s) coordinating these events. You serve as a special events coordinator and you become so attached to these big events. They become your baby. OCC first began in 2007 and it’s been an amazing 7 years of trying out new things, new fundraisers, new methods of promoting and collecting shoeboxes.  Can’t wait to finish strong for 2014.

Right after the meeting I was scheduled to meet Annie at Galleria market to go shopping for the CIC fundraiser ingredients. The menu: Fishcake soup & Ddukbbokki (Spicy rice cake).

Somehow something went wrong. The stove wouldn’t heat up all 4 tops so we had to resort to removing the industrial pot and “reboiling” or continue boiling the broth into smaller pots using 2 tops out of 4. It definitely slowed us down TREMENDOUSLY. What started at 1:30pm and should have ended around 5 or 6pm..went into past midnight. I think I got home around 12:47am.

SUNDAY

I remember waking up thinking, MAN..today is gonna be tough but we gotta persevere. JP was absolutely slammed from yesterday’s events. When I came home he was still working on the DdukBokki sauce but I had no gas left to run on. I don’t even know what time he came to bed… =T

We started at 8:30am and planned to meet up to set up all the tables and portable stoves for our food. Although it’s November, the weather took a turn back into Summer. Low 70s doesn’t really help promote our fishcake soup but JP’s spicy rice cake went out fast! Unfortunately, he doesn’t have much experience cooking for large portions. 200 to be exact. He ran out of sauce in the beginning of the 2nd wave. I was really proud of him. The test sauce him and DMin made was pretty hard to take so I worried a bit but he did a great job balancing sweet and spicy. To be exact, it was sweet at first and within seconds the spiciness kicked in the end. Even the young adults in the KM were coming back for more.

It was a really busy day selling the food and lots of encouragement came through the crowds which I was so thankful for. It wasn’t easy that’s for sure. Right after 2nd service was our church independence information meeting, then CIC meeting, then clean up the fundraiser and then at 7pm we had an appointment to come and casually talk about worship to a youth group where Lynn & her husband, Aaron serve as pastors.

IMG_20141109_194921Even though JP was exhausted, I thought he did a great job just answering the questions that were provided. We had a chance to challenge their vocal abilities as well as teach them how to use a pedal. Fun times. I hope we can see them soon again. Watching him from afar I had this thought, “Wow God, so this is a small glimpse of what JP would be doing as a worship pastor..” Although not all is clear and confirmed, its really encouraging to see him invest in people where his heart is passionate.

Lately, I sense that God is wanting to teach and develop in me more perseverance. To not give up in the middle or drop the ball just because it gets hard. So that’s a goal of mine for the rest of the year. To persevere and cross the “finish line” whatever that entails.

 

 

 

 

 

WEEKEND REVIEW: Garage Sale/Musubis/Bake Sale

The final round of Operation Christmas Child Fundraisers went down this weekend. One thing I am reminded of  and praising God for…

5 Loaves and 2 Fish

5 Loaves and 2 Fish

Honestly, our CGs didn’t have much time but we brought to Jesus what we could: Our time, our energy, our “junk” for garage sales, our baking abilities, spam, rice, some regular folks who enjoy basketball but aren’t professionals..

We brought all of it to Jesus and said, “Take this. We want to raise money for Operation Christmas Child to meet the spiritual and physical needs of the children.” And I truly believe, He took it and multiplied it.

Through 2 Garage Sales, 1 “Shots for Shoeboxes” with 5 participants, 1 Bake Sale and 1 Musubi Sale…the body has raised over $5,000.00. MINDBLOWN.

One of my favorite veres come to mind:

 

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works with us. To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Here’s a photo recap of this weekend.

 SATURDAY: South Bay Garage Sale & Musubi Prep

 

SUNDAY: Bake Sale & Musubis!

 

I’m amazed at this whole entire process. It’s like the NT times but instead of fish and loaves…we bring a container of spam or a bag of flour or a basketball and Jesus just multiplies it with His power. Praise the Lord. All the more praises to Him alone! So proud of these servants.

If JPs aren’t here..I know they can run this again and even better in 2015.

 

 

 

The Loneliness of the Christian

Today, I feel lonely. I feel discouraged and weary in the soul. Those three elements can weigh down a heart more than any physical ailment or tragedy can bring. Combine the three with a physical ailment and it’s as if death has come early. I don’t think any person is created to do life alone. Christian or not. We’re all wired to have community. As believers, we’re saved to join a community. Lone Ranger Christian isn’t part of God’s plan…or is it?

The loneliness of the Christian results from his walk with God in an ungodly world, a walk that must often take him away from the fellowship of good Christians as well as from that of the unregenerate world. His God-given instincts cry out for companionship with others of his kind, others who can understand his longings, his aspirations, his absorption in the love of Christ; and because within his circle of friends there are so few who share his inner experiences he is forced to walk alone.

The unsatisfied longings of the prophets for human understanding caused them to cry out in their complaint, and even our Lord Himself suffered in the same way.

The man [or woman] who has passed on into the divine Presence in actual inner experience will not find many who understand him. He finds few who care to talk about that which is the supreme object of his interest, so he is often silent and preoccupied in the midst of noisy religious shoptalk. For this he earns the reputation of being dull and over-serious, so he is avoided and the gulf between him and society widens.

He searches for friends upon whose garments he can detect the smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia out of the ivory palaces, and finding few or none he, like Mary of old, keeps these things in his heart.

It is this very loneliness that throws him back upon God. His inability to find human companionship drives him to seek in God what he can find nowhere else.”- A.Z. Tozer (The Loneliness of the Christian)


Tozer said it right.

But it seems very inevitable for those who are in ministry. There always comes these moments where the soul feel drained or empty from pouring one’s heart out doesn’t it? Once summer passes, you gear up for the busy & distracting season of Fall & Winter. The signs are clear right? Busyness, distractions of the consumer world, the me-me mentality, “others/church” are further pushed down the list of priority, serving the Church must reduce and I must increase… etc etc. Typical signs of the worldly influence this time of the season. Been feeling like I’m running hard. Hard for the Church, hard for discipleship and training, hard for the CG ladies to abide in Christ in Word and Prayer, hard to be available in pouring out myself to others for the sake of the Kingdom..but come 2-3 miles down, I look around and I feel as if nobody is running along side with me.

“Go a few more miles Judy, somebody will come along side with encouragement and reminders.”

You pour out confessions and share struggles but any morsel of encouragement is outweighed by the needs of the body, the news of defeated lives, complaints of how horrible and hard life is, no joy, no hunger, no strength to fight in those around you. The need in the body is overwhelming and great.  I start looking around and wondering, “where are the other mature believers God? Where is the ‘when one body part hurts the rest hurt?”

 

 

Those who care would ask, “How is your time in the Word?” I’d say, “Consistent and good. He’s speaking a new word in me everyday. I’m wrestling with a lot of things He’s telling me recently about ministry and my approach to it.”  But still…

I’ve been asking myself, “Judy, what is it that is bringing you down? What is it that you’re hungry for?”

I’m hungry to see God’s people start living the life they were saved to live. For somebody to say, “I experienced Christ today and it was amazing!!”

 

 

 

Two things remain to be said. One, that the lonely man of whom we speak is not a haughty man, nor is he the holier-than-thou, austere saint so bitterly satirized in popular literature. He is likely to feel that he is the least of all men and is sure to blame himself for his very loneliness. He wants to share his feelings with others and to open his heart to some like-minded soul who will understand him, but the spiritual climate around him does not encourage it, so he remains silent and tells his griefs to God alone.

The second thing is that the lonely saint is not the withdrawn man who hardens himself against human suffering and spends his days contemplating the heavens. Just the opposite is true. His loneliness makes him sympathetic to the approach of the broken-hearted and the fallen and the sin-bruised. Because he is detached from the world he is all the more able to help it. Meister Eckhart taught his followers that if they should find themselves in prayer as it were caught up to the third heavens and happen to remember that a poor widow needed food, they should break off the prayer instantly and go care for the widow. “God will not suffer you to lose anything by it,” he told them. “You can take up again in prayer where you left off and the Lord will make it up to you.” This is typical of the great mystics and masters of the interior life from Paul to the present day.

The weakness of so many modern Christians is that they feel too much at home in the world. In their effort to achieve restful “adjustment” to unregenerate society they have lost their pilgrim character and become an essential part of the very moral order against which they are sent to protest. The world recognizes them and accepts them for what they are. And this is the saddest thing that can be said about them. They are not lonely, but neither are they saints.

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WEEKEND REVIEW: Raising funds for the Kingdom!!!

1 Corinthians 15:58

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

Enthusiastically for the Lord knowing that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. This was one of the physically demanding weekends which is probably why I felt absolutely slammed on Monday morning.

Saturday: JP’s Barbershop reopened for business & the World Series

It started off as a FB invitation to watch the WS. Then it became a “The Parks will host” & come for haircuts on Saturday to raise funds for CIC. At first it was just 2 customers. My husband kakao’s me, “Wife, can you please make some Budae Jiggae (Army Base Stew) for Bill and MJ? They’re coming on Saturday for haircuts. Sure. That’s not a problem. Then the thread on FB started growing and next thing I know, we have a total of 3 mouths to feed  and that escalated quickly to 5. 3 customers, 2 WS watchers and 2 hosts. (hey we gotta eat too right?)

3 customers lined up

3 customers lined up

 

We had a great time eating and cheering for the Giants. Of course it didn’t get interesting until the 6th inning came. I loved our MJ came cheering for the underdog. I get it. I mean I would too ..if it was against a team that I didn’t care. I’m not a huge fan of football so I usually cheer for the underdog. But…CMON it’s the Giants here! We all called him out on being a closet Giants fan.

I had dinner and left for a Karaoke party for a church member’s birthday. I thought it was pretty interesting because it was mostly moms and I’ve never hung out with a group of moms unless it was at the Retreat or a Women’s Ministry event. I came out and they had already belted through songs. I tried to find songs that they would like to sing together but I think I felt a slight pop culture/generation gap. Growing up, I listened to kpop and maybe some Mariah Carey. These ladies were busting out some songs I never knew even existed. They were “popular songs” according to them. I gotta give it to these ladies though..they can SING!

When I came back home, the Giants had a fabulous and UHMAYZING comeback. I guess it wasn’t until the 8th inning that MH our underdog fan said, “let’s start cutting hair because it looks like we won.” back up there. WE ???? WON???? lol Love it.

I can’t believe in about less than 2 months, my husband and 4 other brothers will be heading out to Asia for Christmas. To watch him use his skills to raise funds bring a smile to my heart. Speaking of which just the other day a brother came over and they were collaborating on some top secret event for CIC2014. Very excited to see these brothers work together to make CIC happen. I’m looking forward to seeing them grow together, serve together and “taste and see that the Lord is good” together.

 

Sunday: OCC “Shots for Shoeboxes”

Sundays are always a long day. “Church” begins at 8:30am every Sunday and this past Sunday it ended at 9pm. I had a fun time just hanging out with some of my CG ladies over Santouka Ramen. We all came out starving from 2nd service and so it’s just natural that our car conversations started with food. We listed all the foods we enjoyed, all the foods we wanted to introduce to one another and what we love and why we love it. Verbal gluttony at its finest. HA!

The day has FINALLY come! I’m no baller but I’ll use the Judy Nowitzki alter ego as my weapon. I was so grateful for the turnout of sponsors. Really, a FB event post and when I checked the signups, it  just blew my mind how friends from the past, new recent friends and unexpected friends committed 1,2 or 10.00 for every shot I made.

I think out of all the fundraiser events planned for OCC, I was most excited for this one. It was too bad that although many signed up, only 5 came out getting sponsors to raise funds for OCC. It was the most thrilling 30 minutes with a mix of tension and competition. When the 1 minute time started, it felt like the shortest but also the longest 1 minute ever. I couldn’t smell, or hear much. It was all about getting the ball in my hand and launching it the best I could towards the board/net and repeat. I hope next year that whoever does coordinate OCC, presents the 2nd Shots for Shoeboxes fundraiser. We raised almost 1K just from 5 individuals. Lots of potential in this event. Outreach and Inreach.

 

 

Thank you God for the opportunity use our skills for your work to be done. May what was done not be in vain. May every second and every penny bear “God pleasing” fruit.

In Jesus name, Amen.

 

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