Honor Thy Flawed Fathers and Mothers

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Solving the “Asian Parent Problem”

http://biblehub.com/matthew/23-9.htm “And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.”

Over the last few years God has been putting me through a graduate course in dealing with my father issues. I still haven’t graduated, but at least I know what my thesis is. πŸ™‚

Backstory

I never really wanted to be a leader. I just wanted to find a leader I could trust, who cared about the things I cared about, so I could define my mission as a sub-mission of theirs. Unfortunately, things never quite worked out that way.
This is not to denigrate the honorable men (no women, but that’s another story) I have served under in the context of work, ministry and family. I have been extraordinary privileged to have been by led and mentored by a succession of extraordinary men of deep integrity, from my own earthly father to Steve Jobs. People who were sincerely committed to the mission, practiced what they preached, and never abused their authority.

And yet…

For all their strengths, those leaders all their blind spots. Areas where their behavior didn’t align with the values they genuinely believed in and communicated. Attitudes they were oblivious to that clearly hurt both individuals and the organization’s ability to fulfill its mission. Continue reading

Demolishing Strongholds by Philip John

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Text: 2 Cor 10: 3 – 6

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

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Kingdom Equations, with Bob Mumford

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I admit this is rather geeky, but (for once!) it isn’t my fault. Our NALC West speaker Bob Mumford is on a bit of a physics kick, and thus presented his summary on the nature of God’s Kingdom using a series of pseudo-algebraic equations. I loved the idea, but felt it actually worked better graphically, so I took the liberty of “remixing” it as a series of charts. Let me know what you think!

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From Soul to Spirit, with Bob Mumford

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In response to my previous summary of Bob Mumford’s talk at NALC West, my friend Andrew Isaac asked in the comments:

could you elaborate on what Bob said about the nature of Agape in regards to pre-meditation? I’ve been having a hard time understanding why we can’t pre-meditate loving someone with Agape love.

That’s actually something I myself have wrestled with, so I figured its worth another blog post to explore. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I do at least pretend to have some of the answers. πŸ™‚

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From Arche to Agape, with Bob Mumford

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As I said before, my earlier song/summary from Bob Mumford‘s teaching at NALC-West (2007 May 4-7, Langley, BC, Canada) wasn’t a great success along either dimension. However, it did inspire me to take another crack at trying to articulate what I got out of his messages, even though it was two weeks ago. To be sure, this doesn’t even attempt to capture the richness of his illustrations, the depth of his feeling, or the joyousness of his humor; and falls short even of the attempt to capture his basic meaning. Still, it is at least useful to me as a partial reminder, as imperfect as it is.

Please give him credit for anything insightful and useful in the following, and blame me for anything confusing and/or heretical. πŸ™‚ [PDF also available]

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Eternal Life by Philip John

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My father-in-law gave the following message during the “Explore” service at Ashraya Church in South India. It is a thoughtful, humorous, yet deeply spiritual look at one of the deepest mysteries we will ever confront. I love the way he respectfully but firmly contrasts Christianity with the Hindu and Buddhist beliefs of his audience. Though he isn’t an ordained pastor, he clearly has a pastoral heart, and it shows.

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Give Thanks by Philip John

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Today’s “guest devotional” is by my father-in-law, Philip John. He lives in Chennai, India, and gave this sermon last Sunday at Ashraya Church , where he is an elder. I found it both encouraging and convicting, and wanted to pass it along. My favorite passage:
Many times we may end up losing something we value very much and when this happens we lose ‘face’. We are seen as losers. We try to resist this by hanging in there by hook or by crook — often by crook which we justify in our mind – ‘we don’t want the Lord’s name to be let down’! But the real reason is that we don’t want to let go of something we want to cling on to. Actually God may be taking away something so He could put something bigger and better in our hands! And in the process of our ‘letting go’ you can be sure that He is changing your character and increasing your trust in Him.
[Read more] for the full text.

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