Archives for category: outreach

This insight has stuck with me since The Idea Camp in Irvine:

Open source is about making it happen for the kingdom, not about getting credit for it.

Charles Lee embodies this principle in so many ways.  One of the many movements he helps lead, JustOne, created an initiative called the Laundry Love Project as “regular opportunities to help people who are struggling financially by assisting them with doing their laundry. Relationships are built, and LLPs become small communities of common concern in which participants often find that they receive assistance and benefit with other areas of their lives.”

Our church community initiated and participated in our first LLP on Saturday, June 6th. I was so encouraged to hear about other communities around the country also hosting LLPs — check out this great photo of a standing-room only crowd in Arkansas and this site setup by a group in Red Oak, Texas.

San Diego, because of its temperate climate, has a large homeless population.  Many within our church have struggled with the idea of how to make a difference for members of the homeless community beyond giving a couple of dollars here & there when we see them panhandling at major intersections near church.

Laundry Love gave us a venue for listening to individual stories and establishing relationships while, at the same time, offering practical help.  Our church might not be very big in numbers, but we have a huge heart!  Most of our church members are not likely to strike up a Jesus-conversation with a stranger seated next to them on an airplane, but they are more than willing to get their hands dirty and serve like Jesus.  Laundry Love is a great fit for us, and we’re hoping this will be the first of many.  I’ve cross-posted the following from our church’s site:

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The Big Story

This morning, after dropping off our daughter at school, I rushed to get into James Choung‘s seminar at the National Pastors Convention, The Big Story: Sharing the Gospel in an Increasingly Unchurched Culture.  It was a full house and I’m glad, because this is a message churches need to hear.

James details challenged us to think of the Gospel as more than a “get out of hell free” card which, in the vivid words of Dallas Willard, results in “vampire Christians” who only want Jesus for His blood (drew quite a response from those in attendance). Instead, James encouraged us to think of the Gospel Jesus embodied and proclaimed — namely, the Kingdom of God.  To quote James:

The Kingdom of God: Where what God wants to happen actually happens

James describes three significant movements we need to make in our understanding of the Gospel and how we share it with others:

  • Individual > > Communal
  • Decision > > Transformation
  • After-life > > Mission-life

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I hope everyone from Southern California is safe and sound today. I couldn’t believe the news about the earthquake — we used to live in Chino Hills, the epicenter of the quake. My heart aches to protect our daughter; understandably, she was very frightened by her first earthquake but here I am, thousands of miles and an ocean away in Japan.

If you are able to, please remember to keep our Japan team in prayer. We’re heading into the homestretch of our outreach here — I’ll be disconnected as we head out for a three-day children’s camp. Please pray for our team as we seek to share the love of God across language and culture barriers with kids who have no connection with Christ at all. And please lift up a special prayer on my behalf — I’m definitely feeling my age during this trip (and all of this before we even get to camp).

I’ve posted another update with photos at

Greetings from Japan, friends!

I am writing from Katsuta Church in Hitachinaka, outside of Mito City (a bumpy two and a half hour bus ride from Narita International Airport in Tokyo). I am leading a team of five people from our church community in San Diego for a twelve-day outreach in Japan.

While less than 1% of the population here follows Christ, we are privileged to be partnering with a beautiful church here. The congregation here has been nothing but hospitable, warm and gracious — and we see in them a vibrant faith that is often missing back home.

We did not come here with any colonial notions of “bringing Jesus” to the “pagans” of this nation. In fact, we have tried to maintain a missional mindset from the get-go: God is already at work in the world, and we are simply participating in whatever He asks us to do. And it has been very clear that much of our work here will be as learners.

Katstuta Church planted a church in a nearby city, Ohmiya, a couple of years ago. I had the privilege of sharing my testimony there this morning. At first glance, the church might seem small — only about ten adults and four children. However, consider that they are the first and only Christian church in the city. In this light, the two people who have given their lives to Christ and been baptized through the ministry of this church are nothing short of a revolution. Our church has a lot to learn from their example.

One really great phrase I have heard throughout the day here is the word Subarashi for the Gospel. Subarashi can be translated as “wonderful, awesome, great.” I often hear that phrase used in animes — so it definitely tickled my ears to hear it used during a church service. But more than that, I love that image of the message of Christ as wonderful, awesome and great — subarashi news!

I will try posting photos tomorrow (I foolishly left my memory card reader — and camera charger! — at home). Please keep our team and this church in prayer if you have the chance. More updates soon!

And please, no Ponzi schemes! :)

This summer, our church will be sending a team of mostly college-aged people to Japan to partner with the ministry of a local church there. The prospect of raising $3000 each has been daunting for our team members.

As pastors, my wife and I have done our best to assure them that, in our experience, money is never the thing that prevents us from participating in God’s work around the world — but, at the same time, they must be willing to work really hard to raise the necessary support.

If you have any ideas that a small group of five or ten people can use for effective fundraising, please let me know. And, if you’d like to contribute, drop me a line!