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Recently, a youth leader shared a conversation she had with a camper.

A few weeks ago, this camper confided that she was bullied in the last few months because of a recent neurological diagnosis. The camper felt she was pigeon-holed because of that diagnosis. The leader shared her own experience with some of her own struggles and the hope Jesus presented to her during that time.

Fast forward a few weeks later, this camper met up with the leader. The camper expressed her desire to want to be baptized because, “she wants to have Jesus as her label, not that diagnosis”.

It was a powerful reminder for me to recognize how I’m defined. What or who do I want to be defined by? Would others identify by the label of Jesus or something else? Questions that dig to the root of who I am.

So excited that this camper, through this leader, knows who she wants to identify with.

Do you?


A few years ago, my kids bought me a pair of noise-reducing earmuffs. I’ve felt there’s been a lot of noise lately. Partially volume (live sporting events aren’t as exciting as I used to think), partially lots of white noise (whether in my household or outside).

Earlier today, I took 5 minutes to sit quietly with these on. While they don’t remove all noise, it does muffle a significant amount. Two things I noticed:

  • I was much more conscious of my breathing. As such, I could pace myself based on the rate of my breathing.
  • I was left to my own thoughts which I prayed through.

Afterwards, I felt refreshed and able to better connect with my family.

Over the next while, I’m looking at the state of my soul. Tonight, this was a moment to at least give me some quiet to reset myself with God.

Ah, the gift of silence.

When pursuing joy

I’ve heard stories when people go to church and are told, whether intentionally or unintentionally, to fake happiness. One pastor expressed that a friend was hold in his childhood, “Fake happiness is better than real depression.” In other words, even if you don’t feel happy or maybe depressed, it’s better to pretend that nothing’s wrong and you’re “just fine”.

The other extreme is when someone recognizes that “downness” and chooses to remain there.

Neither is healthy.

I do find, e.g. when I go to Sunday service, that I have this pull. On the one hand, I want to be authentic and recognize that things aren’t perfect, that there could be things that are wrong. I don’t want to portray that everything is alright when it really isn’t. On the other hand, especially when entering a worship service, I recognize that God doesn’t want me to remain in that state. Grant it, it doesn’t mean to just pretend it’s all resolved if it hasn’t yet. But my movement needs to move towards the kind of joy that only Jesus can provide.

It’s not about just being happy. It’s recognizing where I am in a spiritual, emotional, psychological, mental and physical state with the intention of seeking the one who can provide joy (and peace and hope and love).

How do you pursue joy?

Every so often, someone says to me “well, everyone knows …” More and more, I’m realizing everyone doesn’t know. But why do we assume we do?

  • We assume certain cultural or societal norms are universally accepted. Cultural Intelligence has demonstrated these assumptions infiltrate the way we view the world and, many times, we assume people see it the same way we do.
  • We assume everyone thinks the way we do. If we see a and b, it obviously leads to c. But I’m noticing people might see the exact same thing but come to very different conclusions. Muliple intelligences demonstrate how we all learn and process differently.

This isn’t to suggest there isn’t absolute truth. To suggest no facts are universal, seems to me, is a preposterous notion. However, have we all discovered what those absolute truths are? In our conversations, perhaps we shouldn’t be so quick to assume “everyone knows”.

Is it really an apology?

Every so often, a public figure makes an apology. The most recent example is Rick Warren’s apology about a Facebook photo. Usually, a public apology sounds like this: If you were hurt, upset, offended, or distressed by my insensitivity I am truly sorry.

The word that bugs me is “if”. It almost puts the onus on the person offended. “If you were offended”, to me, translates “since you have a problem with this (but others don’t) and to appease you, I’ll offer this apology”. If someone is truly sorry, would they add “if”? I would think a straight “I apology for offending people with that remark” suggests the offending person actually does take ownership of their remarks. Otherwise, is the person truly sorry?

The Survival Energy Drain

Sometimes, I hear people talk about the less fortunate in unfavouring terms. “They’re just lazy.” “They’re just milking the system.” “Why don’t they just get some help?”

I recently learned the signs of a drowning victim. We usually think of movies where the person is screaming and flailing their arms. Yet drowning victims usually go unnoticed because their body automatically removes certain functions to keep the most vital ones going. They only stay afloat for about 20-60 seconds before sinking.

I suspect this is how many people feel, including those who are barely making it. Their energies are essentially driven to survive. To try to strive for anything else (like getting additional support) is out of reach. Grant it, everyone’s energy levels are different. What each person can manage is different. But no one has infinite energy or consciousness. We can each only handle so much.

Before we assume that someone is just lazy or isn’t willing to help themselves, it could be they’re just “drowning”. What are you doing to do about it?

Hello blogosphere.

Never thought I’d be blogging, but thought, hey, why not throw out some thoughts randomly about different things.  I”ve expanded some categories to include some audio-recorded sermons and links, a brief collection of thoughts when we switched to public transit and reviews of some main ideas of movies (and the implications of that message).

So to whom it may concern … enjoy the ramblings of this short Chinese Christian.

Please note: Although I work for CBOQ, these opinions are my own and in no way reflect the opinions of CBOQ.

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