Archives for category: worship

After rewriting much of the worship vocabulary and reshaping the modern musical landscape of the Church over the past ten+ years and 14 albums, Delirious? has decided to call it quits at the end of 2009.

For all the complaining I might do about Jesus is my boyfriend-type praise songs, I have always appreciated the lyrical depth and musical integrity of the Delirious? crew. Though we might be inoculated to their power from overfamiliarity, there is something so deeply true about the following lyrics, taken from the chorus of Did You Feel The Mountains Tremble?

Open up the doors and let the music play

Let the streets resound with singing

Songs that bring Your hope, songs that bring Your joy

Dancers who dance upon injustice

In our quest (pipe dream?) to build a community that actively engages God’s purposes in the world, we want to see worship and justice wed together in powerful ways. Our desire to become the change we hope to see in the world is fueled by the love who first came down to us.

We’d love to see more joy and authentic expressions of freedom in our gatherings (maybe any expression!), but it would be tragic for it to stop there. A true worship encounter with God does something to us — healing, restoration, joy and hope fill us and then flow out from us, both on a personal level and in the bigger picture of redemption.

Thanks, Martin and company, for the music.

What would characterize a uniquely Asian American worship or preaching experience? Does such a thing even exist? asks David Park over at Next Gener.Asian Church.

It seems that, in order to answer this question, we must first begin with the primary issue of our identity, to know deeply what it means to be created as Asian Americans in the image of God. The “neither/nor” struggle — not being fully Asian nor fully American in our identity — has led to shame, rebellion and self-hatred. Because many of us have wandered through this fog for twenty, thirty, forty years, the quest to discover our God-given identity is not easily or quickly resolved. We need the Holy Spirit to repair, heal, restore and redeem the mess that we are.

Read the rest of this entry »

We have officially launched our new community here in San Diego: United Presbyterian Church!

Personally, it has been a tumultuous past several months — lots of soul searching, seeking after God and wrestling with some tough questions. In many ways, the struggle still continues — but I’m hoping that just as art is often born of pain, something beautiful could arise from this difficult season.

While we embrace our roots as the English Ministry of Korean United Presbyterian Church, we dream of becoming a missional people who are united with Jesus as individuals and as a diverse community, and to God’s purposes in the world.

If you are in the San Diego area, we invite you to come join what God is doing here at United!

Our website is still in a sort of beta-ish mode, but you can take a peek over at sdunited.org. Below is a graphic I designed to capture the heart of where we think God is leading us.

Our family just returned from the first real vacation we’ve had in years and we had a wonderful time.

One of the highlights of our trip was visiting the Grand Canyon. Our daughter enjoyed the snow there (yes, apparently it snows in Arizona and the fresh snowfall was beautiful). She even got to make a snowman, as evidenced below:

gcsnow.jpg

This was my first trip to the Grand Canyon, and it was completely breathtaking. Before visiting, I’m not sure what I imagined (maybe a big hole in the ground?) but when we finally arrived and got our first glimpse I gasped out loud. My wife told me a story about a family she knew growing up who drove out from Southern California to the Grand Canyon, saw it, said, “What a grand canyon” and hopped right back into the car and returned home. However, we were in no hurry to leave — there was so much to take in.

My wife and I spoke during our trip home about how sometimes we need to experience really huge and beautiful things that remind us of how small we really are and how this sense of awe and wonder help us to reconnect with God in deeper ways (well, mostly my wife spoke and I listened and learned — she’s profound like that, and I’m a lucky man!).

When everything is human-sized and manageable, it is so easy for me to lose sight of the vastness of God. And, at times when I feel on the verge of being crushed by circumstances, I am so glad that my life is in His hands. There is a world of difference between feeling dumb or belittled because I just can’t get it right and being re-sized in the presence of Almighty God.

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! – Psalm 8:1

Ten years ago, I was looking for some Bible study material at a Christian bookstore on the East Coast when I came across a cassette tape (!) for “Passion ’98: Live Worship from the 268 Generation.” Although I had no idea what a 268 Generation was, I liked the design on the cover so I picked it up that day. Like many others, my first connection with the Passion movement was through their music.

My wife and I, along with two friends, road tripped it over 20 hours from New Jersey out to Tennessee for the first OneDay event in 2000 (if you watch closely, you can spot us on the DVD). Since then, we have been to several Passion events — Thirsty, campus tours, various concerts & conferences, etc. We are bringing a group of college students from our church out to Los Angeles on Friday and Saturday for the Passion ’08 west coast regional event.

I really admire Louie Giglio, the founder and catalyst behind Passion. For being an extremely influential person, Louie is down-to-earth and very approachable. Once, when my wife and I were down in Atlanta as part of the ramp-up to OneDay ’03, Louie asked if we needed a ride back from dinner and we had a nice, albeit brief, conversation together in his car. Almost two years later, towards the end of ’04, we were in Manhattan for the last of the Passion events being held around the city and we saw Louie briefly before the event began. He actually remembered us, and greeted us warmly. I don’t mean to imply that I am “friends” with Louie at all; rather, I think these little stories show the heart and humility behind the Passion movement.

Louie often shares that there is no new theme for the Passion events — it’s always the same: the glory of God. While I love the music of Passion, it is the message that resonates deeply with me: that there is no higher calling, no bigger story, no more worthy cause than to live completely for God’s glory.

I don’t believe that events should be the primary catalyst for growing as followers of Christ. More and more, I am convinced that it is the living out of what we believe in the everyday and in between that causes our love for God and others to deepen. That being said, part of what draws me to Passion is that they’re not just about the events (which, by the way, are always creative and inspiring). In Louie’s own words:

Jesus is a movement. He’s not into monuments, systems or external structures. He is a river of life. “And everywhere the river flows, everything lives.” Movements are fluid. Movements move. Movements are not always predictable.

Join with us in praying that God would raise up a collegiate generation — a movement — who lives for something more than wealth, power or fame, whose life and breath would be spent to proclaim the beauty, wonder and glory of our God everyday.