Tag Archives: sermon

AIV LG: #WorkSoHard series! (video)

It was an honor to be part of InterVarsity Asian American ministry’s national pilot project on a witness sermon series on vocational discernment, particularly for Asian American college students. Our series has lots to say to everyone, but addresses the specific experiences that our people go through in this area.
Our series, called #WorkSoHard: Finding a Life That Matters was designed to give students (of all Asian backgrounds) a taste of God’s vision for why we work so hard, and also reveal our broken ways of doing this. You can find all four videos of #WorkSoHard YouTube playlist here.
FYI: This is version 1.0 and only my/UVA AIV’s version of the vision of the project, contextualized for our campus. So it’s a work in progress as we figure out how to help others do this on campus or at a conference. 
Special thanks to Joe Ho for being an awesome supervisor/coach/mentor and giving me the chance to be part of this project; thanks to David C, Samantha M, & Andrea C for helping with the video/recording, and for Tim M for coordinating LG awesomely to pull this thing off.
Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 11.30.10 PM

GCF large group sermon: GOOD ENOUGH? (video)

I have had a lot of speaking engagements this year, but I had my first opportunity to preach at a non-InterVarsity fellowship this past Friday. On April 12th, I was invited to Grace Christian Fellowship’s (GCF) large group.

GCF was the first predominantly-Asian fellowship at U.Va, started by I.J. Kim nearly two decades ago. I first met brother I.J. when he spoke at Rockbridge in 2008 at our C-Team track. How fitting that even after graduation, he and I would reconnect in ministry! As I considered how best to serve the audience, I took note of the fact that many GCF members were 1.5 or 2nd generation Korean Americans who grew up to some degree in immigrant churches. That quickly led to Luke 15, traditionally known as the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

As I’ve done before, I asked the audience to imagine that the characters were Asian, firstly to offset the internalized bias that Bible characters are white, and secondly to make us more open to what God might have to say for us. I think it should be called “The Parable of the Good Enough Sons” instead. See for yourself what it’s like to see this famous text with Asian eyes and Asian skin.

Demonstrating the older son's anger.

Demonstrating the older son’s anger.

OneWay IV large group sermon: THE BANDAGED LIFE (audio)

On March 1, 2013, I was invited to speak again at OneWay IV’s large group — this time, it was for an invitational large group, specifically set-up to be friendly for newcomers. They’d spent the week doing Proxe Stations with a theme about “Faking It.” At U.Va especially, there are certain personas and images that students feel pressured to adopt. OneWay’s desire was to help refute those with the image that God has for us.

As I’ve said before, OneWay is another chapter of IV at U.Va specifically focused on black and African American students. I spoke on Luke 5:12-16 to help students see how bandaging up the wounds we have prevents us from receiving healing. I really enjoyed the chance to speak into an ethnic-specific ministry context that wasn’t my own, yet still see how my own unique Asian American identity and minority experience could really bless and resonate with students.  You can find the audio of my talk here. Special thanks to Ting-Ting for recording it!

It was a joy to speak to OneWay twice this year!

It was a joy to speak to OneWay twice this year!

Image

InterVarsity Asian Ministries features my talk & many others!

InterVarsity Asian Ministries features my talk & many others!

IV’s Asian American Ministries page has compiled some of the Urbana PANA lounge talks! Right now, mine’s the most recent and at the top of the page! Such an honor to be able to contribute to our ministry resources and the national conversation. Click here to see it!

Also, check out the other speakers’ talks — these men and women are really eminent leaders in the Asian American ministry community. I can hardly believe I’m featured on the same page as any (let alone ALL) of these individuals! It’s an honor to be serving alongside leaders like these.

Urbana 12 Pan-Asian Lounge: WHY NON-CHRISTIAN ASIANS DON’T LIKE YOUR ASIAN CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP (video)

While at Urbana I had the privilege of speaking at the Pan-Asian N. American (PANA) lounge – a place where Asian American students could gather for food, fellowship, and to hear short talks focusing on a big idea that related to intersection of ethnic identity and spiritual life. I was the very last speaker in 4 days of excellent talks. My topic: “Asian America: Divided by God?” or, more bluntly, “Why don’t non-Christian Asian Americans like our Asian fellowship?

This 10-minute talk is a re-shaped version of my talk at ECAASU back in February. While ECAASU focuses on political activism and cultural awareness, largely from a secular standpoint, Urbana engages these topics from a Christian background. I approached the divide between religious and non-religious Asian Americans from a scriptural standpoint. I called Asian American Christians to re-examine their fears and gifts and to recommit to Christ’s mandate and manner of witness.

It seemed to elicit positive response from folks who’ve never heard this topic spoken on before. Some students I know from Duke, as well as student leaders from MIT and the University of Michigan, asked questions about how to  embody this kind of culturally-authentic / culturally-effective witness. Again I’m grateful for the chance to speak out of what God has led me through (even though I still feel so far behind where I should be)!

You can see the video here:

At the PANA "Big Idea" speaker stage on the last day of Urbana.

At the PANA “Big Idea” speaker stage on the last day of Urbana.

OneWay IV large group sermon: THE COST OF EVERYTHING (video)

Last Friday, I was thrilled to get the chance to preach at OneWay Christian Fellowship’s large group. OneWay is another chapter of InterVarsity here at U.Va ministering to and through black and African American students – they went before us in terms of doing ethnic-specific ministry here on Grounds! As sibling IV chapters, we staff love to serve each other, invite each other to lead or get to know our students, and share our ministry space as a family. Even in the midst of AIV’s intense fall outreach schedule, I was glad to serve my fellow IV staff worker Charlene as well as get to spend some time with OneWay students.

The inclusion of my story as a son of immigrants/being Asian, as well as a reference of many scholarship-recipients was purposeful. As ethnic specific ministries, we have to get into our context for the Gospel to take root. In fact, our whole sibling chapter/staff model of InterVarsity here at U.Va is very purposeful to engage with the ethnic heritage and context we come from and enter into through ministry. And when I said that OneWay set the tone for some of what AIV does, that’s not just a politician’s compliment, I really mean that. Much of what I learned as an intern, before I received the specific calling to minister to Asian students, was gained from observing OneWay! I can’t say enough how important cross-cultural learning and ministry is for us.

OneWay is in the middle of a 4-week sermon series called “Follow Me” discussing the real, nitty gritty nature of what it means to follow Jesus. No platitudes, no fluffiness, just direct messages and reflection upon what this call means. I was given Luke 14:25-35 as my passage, which is often subtitled “The Cost of Being a Disciple.” You can find the YouTube video of the sermon, embedded here!

Emphasizing a point

Rockbridge ’12: IDENTITY TRANSFORMED 2.0 (video)

Preaching “Image Rejected” during week 2.

UPDATE: Image RejectedReclaimed are now posted.

Hi friends! It’s been 3 hectic months since my last post. It’s just been too busy to blog! To bookend the silence, this (like my last post) will be a write-up plus video! There’ll be 3 sermons (2 sermons by me & 1 by my roommate, Garrett Trent, Greek IV @ U.Va staff). Editing & uploading takes time — I’ll add the new videos as I finish & repost the blog link to Facebook/Twitter etc.
——————————————————

Our yearly chapter camp is an awesome time of celebration and growth for students from all over NC, SC, and VA. God is so tangibly at work there and we staff know it’s a crucial time to be present and attentive. I had the privilege of serving in the Identity Transformed (IDT) track for both weeks. IDT helps student wrestle with what God meant identity to be and how our false identities inhibit our transformation. Though it was a new track last year, we saw God work throughout the bumpy first-run to transform students deeply.

I’ve enjoyed my part in growing the track and getting a front-row seat to this amazing process. But I also love IDT because it’s good for me. My identity is often wrapped up in accomplishments. My posture is go, do, build, make. God through IDT calls me to berestlistenbelong. My action must be grounded in my abiding, but that’s easier said than done! God used the 2 weeks of IDT to speak to those very identity issues of mine.

I came into Week 1 worn out from a 6-week blitz of traveling, exit meetings, and a big year-end AIV event. I felt unprepared for my IDT roles (preaching 2 Gospel session sermons & leading a small group).  I hadn’t put in the 10 hours per sermon, I hadn’t reread Colossians recently. I was afraid that, in my unready state, I’d hinder God’s purpose for the track. God had different plans in mind. I was especially amazed on Thursday (gospel session 3: Image Reclaimed). It was the turning point of the week – after 3 days of reflection on false vs. true identity, we were inviting students to receive the true identity God had created for them. As I invited people to let Jesus reclaim their broken identities, 7 people said yes for the first time, and 10 for the first time in a long time! I hadn’t gotten in the way, God has used me, and amazing things had happened during week 1.

Inevitably, all staff come in tired for the 2nd week. But instead of growing to trust Him more, I again felt that I was going to mess things up. I felt out of tune on Tuesday when I preached on Image Rejected. Technically, it was one of my best sermons ever (I executed transitions and points well, etc.). But I didn’t feel spiritually in-tune. When it came to reflection time, I invited students to receive help to pray repentance (to let go of false identities). Again I was afraid that my out-of-tune-ness was going to get in the way. But as the next hour unfolded, over 20 students came for prayer; over a 1/4 of the track! Clearly God had it under control.

You’d think I’d get the message by Thursday. But no. I still heard a voice in my head telling me that I was going to mess it up. And that voice got worse when “only” 12 people accepted my invitation to receive God’s true identity. Half of me was rejoicing & truly excited. But the other half said, There are fewer people this week because you weren’t good enough. You forgot your points. You weren’t spiritually prepared. You weren’t as eloquent. It kept saying that, even when staff prayed against lies of the enemy the steal & destroy our joy. I had not been good enough. If only I’d been more prepared, slept more, prayed more.

Then God used two of the students who’d said “yes” for the first time to bless me. As I was cleaning up, a young man told me that he’d grown up his whole life in church but that God had spoken through my sermons to show him things in a new true way. “Now I feel freed for God to use me now! It’s amazing!” As I was leaving, a young lady told me thanked me for the words I’d spoken; now she understood the truth about what God is offering her. “I’ve become part of the InterVarsity community which was awesome but I never understood ‘the joy of the Lord’ that everyone talked about. But now, today, I have it! These tears I’m crying are tears of joy.”

I actually don’t expect students to ever speak to me after about a sermon; nobody did that week 1 and that’s perfectly normal and fine. But God sent these two students to bless me and affirm me. And in a very gentle and gracious tone, I felt God saying that “They came to thank you because they value their transformation. I value their transformation. Don’t worry, you too can value their transformation.” Here I was, feeling uneasy about getting up there, and feeling like I’d done terribly. To God, I hadn’t gotten in the way. To God, I’d done well.  God sent the students in that moment to speak against my habitual false identity as hero that threatens to steal and destroy. Moreover, I realized that God has been growing me all year in this area.  Last year, when I received praise for my speaking, that voice would probably have gone something like Look at me, I’m such a good preacher. At least now there’s a little fear and trembling. Which is all to say that Lord had this too under control.

Turns out students aren’t the only ones getting transformed.

——————————-
IMAGE REJECTED

IMAGE RECLAIMED

IMAGE RESTORED (by Garrett Trent) [to be posted later]