Saturday, February 26, 2005

Partnership Development Workshop

This week has been amazing. I attended a Partnership Development Workshop. I have learned so much, and God has been blessing me with the testimony and stories of many missionaries.

I learned that Partnership is about support, mutuality, relationship, friendship, interdependence, team, responsibilities, commitment, similar goals, insights into what God is doing, creativity, commitment, which also includes sacrifice, risk, grief, time and effort. Whereas development is to do with unfolding (from latent to active), becoming fuller or bigger, maturing.

In the context of mission, Paul said “I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first until now…” PD is sharing with people what God is doing in your life as a missionary, and inviting them to partner with you in it, letting them know how they can be involved in the team – IF THEY WISH TO BE (to go, to give and / or to pray).

With my mission at World Team, I am establishing a partnership support team at the moment. If you'd like to join me by supporting me prayerfully and financially, please let me know :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

My story thus far (2)

I feel that I have done quite a bit of 'travelling' in terms of my faith journey since my time at Bible College. To simply put it, I am one of many who constantly grapple with issues related to mission. God called me to mission through Hudson Taylor's biographies many years ago. Without Hudson Taylor, we Chinese people wouldn't have had the opportunity to hear the gospel. I sensed that God was calling me (as a Chinese person) to 'return the debt' to 'westerners'.

Three years ago, I attended a Christian arts seminar in Cooma in NSW. Michael Frost was the main speaker. That was the first time i'd ever heard of the concepts of emerging missional church. I was blown away and challenged by Mike's ideas. I also bought the tapes and had been listening to them. Also throughout my studies at Tabor, I came to know a bit more about the concepts of the incarnational missional church.

I also remember interviewing Alan Hirsch in his office last year for one of my assignments and what he shared with me challenged me heaps as well. Towards the end of last year, Alan invited me to a Forge event, where I bought the book "The Shaping Of Things To come." I read it the first time, put it down and didn't think much about it (because of the busyness of life and ministry). Recently I've been sick and needed time away from work and ministry for a few weeks. I sensed that God wanted me to read the book again, so I did. As I was reading it, my spirit got both excited and nervous at the same time. I felt like God's calling me to participate in the mission of the emerging incarnational church.

I think that mission is about asking 'what is God doing around me' and then seeking ways to join in those things. That is my intention and my prayer. I am just wondering if other people can tell me more about their journey into mission.

Monday, February 21, 2005

My story thus far

I was born into a Buddhist (with ancestor worship) family in Hong Kong. My parents brought me to a Christian primary school because they felt that Christian schools were better academically. Through religious education, I heard about the stories of Jesus, but Christ never meant much to me then. During grade five, I had a very high fever and was admitted to hospital. A couple from a nearby church came to do hospital visitation and witnessed to me, I really sensed God's love in a way that I had not before, so I accepted Jesus as my Saviour and Lord on this day, while I was still very sick. That night my life changed, and it has never gone back :)

I came to live in Melbourne when I was seventeen, and God blessed me with a church family where I was discipled and grew up spiritually. In May 1994 during a missions conference God called me to serve Him through a sermon. That moment I was moved to tears, and I responded to the Lord’s call and committed myself to His service in mission. In July of the same year, God spoke to me again through the great grandson of Hudson Taylor, who came to Melbourne to share in a series of meetings titled “I commit my life to you”--- this was when I joyfully responded to God saying : “LORD, may you use my life for Your purposes”.

However, as God had declared “My thoughts are not your thoughts” , and throughout the next few years after that my life was turned upside down and chaos were everywhere and my heart was shattered by various crises. Nevertheless, I can see how God has used these experiences to make me the person I am today. I learned that the most difficult times are the ones in which God seems to be most at work in my life, strengthening my weak spots, comforting my hurts, and drawing me to greater dependence on Him.

On the New Year’s Eve of 2000, I had an opportunity to reflect upon my life. On this very night, I asked God for direction in the new millennium. The Lord’s Word came to me through Isaiah 6:5, saying “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us ?” I was reminded of my commitment to serve Him with my life. Through the touching of the Holy Spirit, I responded to God “Here am I. Send me !”. The Lord then sent me to do Intercultural Studies at Tabor Bible College, and now as a mission mobilizer in World Team Australia.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

communitas and liminality

I went to Forge Intensive's open night on Saturday, where Mike Frost was speaking in the evening session. Mike asked, "Have you ever felt completely and utterly in love with your comrades?" that question had been on my mind for a whole-24 hours since I saw Mike last night. Yeah I long for this magnificent intimacy with mates of community of Jesus, called 'communitas', which include separation, liminality and re-orientation, according to Mike.

The idea of 'communitas' - that which develops when a group of people are thrown together in a situation of ordeal, danger, risk, and have to depend on each other to survive, and how when they survive they feel really close to one another. And how that communitas cannot be established without liminality, cos stuff is drawn out from that experience.

Mike gave various great examples of communitas: from rituals of initiation into manhood in Africa, where boys become men by surviving together in the bush for a period of time, to female images of communitas like the griefing mothers in Northern Ireland known as the "peace people", four mothers' movement and the mothers' in Argentina in 1970's, contribution of comrades in Wizard of Oz etc. These tell us that together we are greater than some of the individual parts. In mission, we can link arms together with the people we love.

I was really inspired and challenged by Mike's thought provoking talk. I was, as usual, very impressed by Mike's upfront approach and outright love for Jesus. I must admit that this is a new viewpoint that I need to absorb and explore, yet I'm convinced that this vision of church that is engaging would certainly bring more people into the Kingdom of God.

After praying through it, I'd really like to be part of (or even fashion) a communita, as Mike suggested. I'm happy to open my home, plant a faith community among the people God would want me to do, get out and be what we are meant to be!! Yeah I wanna be a part of a communita that I am willing to die for. And I am willing to embrace liminality and rely on the Spirit of God to do it. What does it look like? I am not sure, all I know is that shaping the things to come is not only necessary, but essential in the western world.

Do you agree?

Friday, February 18, 2005

creativity and the purpose driven life

Recently I've been working on producing a creative arts manual for my church, and realized that creativity and the purpose driven life are very closely related.

God made us to be creative, and to fulfill His purposes in Worship, Evangelism, Discipleship, Ministry and Fellowship. He has given us a ‘set of tools’ to carve out his craftsmanship.

  • Worship – The arts can facilitate worship in a very powerful way. God has gifted us in unique ways and we can use all of our creativity to express worship to Him, encourage others to worship Him in spirit and in truth. Creative Arts are both gift and praise to God.
  • Evangelism –The church is God’s vehicle to redeem a lost world. The arts can be especially effective in evangelism because they often reflect the seeker’s hunger and search for God. Indeed, people are longing for God, and we want to use the creative arts to connect them to God, to communicate a truthful understanding of life, with the hope that our art expressions become meeting places for God and people.
  • Discipleship – Through creative arts, Christ-like disciples can be built up to impact the world. God is raising up a global community of Christian artists and disciples who are fully devoted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in their lives. We need artists in the church who are known not only for their talent but also for their walk with Christ.
  • Ministry – The arts excel at identifying with people’s pain and ministering the truth of God’s Word with sensitivity.
  • Fellowship – The arts can enhance fellowship, encourage and edify the faith community. Music, drama, dance, multi-media, literature, and the visual arts can encourage someone who’s down, someone who’s struggling in his or her walk with Christ, someone who’s facing trials and temptations.

    What do you reckon?

Thursday, February 17, 2005

About Ignition Creative Artists' Gathering

If you are a creative person, YOU ARE INVITED!!!

IGNITION is a gathering of creative people from around Australia. The event will be from 7-10 April.

Each day will include Space, space with God, space with each other, space to reflect, space to move, space to heal, space to get some learning.

Fri and Sat night you’ll experience a professional standard production open for delegates and the general public. Thurs night will be dinner and a variety night offering tastes of what is being offered around Australia currently.

what's the vision?

To support creative people to serve in their communities and in the arts industries around Australia to a standard of excellence from a heart of worship.

Stonnington Recreation Centre
61-71 McIlwrick St, Prahan, Victoria

who is it for?

Jesus focused Creatives wanting to share His love through their own form of artistic expression. Passionate AND OR Professional makes no difference your needed and welcomed. If your hiding the caves as David was….please give what you have, we need each other.

what is its purpose?

We hope to gather together and inspire, encourage, heal and move forward into our communities with a stronger sense of community, purpose, and passion.

It is a call to creative people to deepen their relationship with God and link together in unity to engage in a contemporary and culturally relevant manner.

how much does it cost?

If you’re organised and register early, it will cost $85 for the four days. This includes an informal dinner on the first day, lunch on the last day, and shows each night. Normal registration is $95 per person.


Alternatively, please let me know if you’re planning to come and I can send you a brochure or three :)

Hey come and join me, it's gonna be great!!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

"The Prayer" of the idol

Have you head of Australian Idol runner-up Anthony Callea's song "The Prayer"? In my opinion, it's simply awesome! Anthony is a great singer, and he sings this pop song with passion and feelings. Apparently it's Australia's highest-selling single of all time! If you go to Callea's official website, The Prayer will automatically start to play.

I pray you'll be our eyes, and watch us where we go.
And help us to be wise in times when we don't know
Let this be our prayer, when we lose our way
Lead us to the place, guide us with your grace
give us faith so we'll be safe

La luce che tu hai
nel cuore restera
a ricordarci che
eterna stella sei
Nella mia preghiera
quanta fede c'e

Lead us to a place, guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we'll be safe

Soginamo un mondo senza piu violenza
un mondo di giustizia e di speranza
Ognuno dia la mano al suo vicino
Simbolo di pace, di fraternito
La forza che ci da

We ask that life be kind
and watch us from above
and hope each soul will find
another soul to love

Let this be our prayer
just like every child

E la fede che
hai acceso in noi,
sento che ci salvera

Monday, February 14, 2005

Happy Valentine's Day

May your life be filled with God's love on this day, and every single day :)

Sunday, February 13, 2005

What do you fear?

"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19:10)

As I could see from the response to Peter Hennessey's "what do you fear?" project,and indeed in our daily life, that there are many in fear, despair, and loneliness. I pray that these people will find the peace and hope and love in Christ Jesus, for He came to seek and save the lost.

God Bless!

Saturday, February 12, 2005

The Act Of Proof - seeing with one's own eyes

I went to see the proof exhibition this morning at the Screen Gallery in Federation Square, Melbourne (the largest screen gallery in the world) - Australian Centre for the Moving Image. The whole thing took my breath away! I was so attracted to everything that I walked through the gallery twice!! It was definitely worth seeing with my own eyes.

To me, the highlight was Peter Hennessey's project - where he interviewed people who lived in Woomera, South Australia from various backgrounds. He asked each of them this question "what do you fear?" He also designed a missile, which is the centre of this video installation that explores what we are supposed to fear as a nation and what we fear as individuals (a pic of this missile can be found in my photo album)

Examples of the response included:

"....there is a big fear in my heart...."
" fear for the future is that I might not become what I meant to be."
"I fear that there is one country that has the right to own nuclear power."
"My greatest fear is of being attacked from behind. I like people to be honest and straight."

This was not only an exhibition, it was like a worship experience to me. Proof really got me thinking about this: if seeing doesn't equate to believing, how do we know the truth? Or how do you know what you know, as questioned by one of the artists. This exhibition concludes that evidence alone isn't proof. So what is the proof of what you believe? I'd be really interested in knowing what others think.

I took some photos during the exhibition, and you can go in there to have a look if you like

Friday, February 11, 2005

lunch with mentors

I had lunch with my two mentors and bosses today, namely my senior pastor of CCBC and director of WTA. The meeting had been set to talk about my ministry direction for 2005, and beyond. Since I graduated from Tabor in 2003, I had been working as creative arts coordinator and mission mobilizer in these two organizations. However, towards the end of last year, I realized that it all got a bit too much, and I should only focus on one work.

After heaps of prayer and discussion with people and my two mentors, I decided to focus on World Team Australia where I (together with my team mates) will organise regular ‘focus’ mission nights, put together power point, video or dvd materials, presenting in various bible colleges, Christian groups at universities, youth groups and churches etc, where we will share the mission needs of the unreached people groups of the world, coordinate short term mission trips and pre-trip training, explore possibilities of new church plants in Australia and globally, caring and praying for potential missionaries here in Australia. My work sounds really busy doesn’t it? But what a joy to be busy and (hopefully) productive in such a wonderful mission! I am very excited about this task, and I feel privileged to be participating in the Great Commission of the Lord.

If you would like to speak with me more on the details of my work as a mission mobilizer with WTA, or want to get involved in mission, I would love to chat with you. Just email me or put a comment here :)

Transforming Melbourne

I am participating in the 40 days of prayer and transforming melbourne movement, cos I feel that we have a great responsibility to pray for our city! However, I often find that I have a dilemma, one that many people had grappled with throughout the ages probably. And that is: "if God is all-powerful, why does He need us to pray? If we pray and nothing happens, does this mean that God isn't listening?" I would be interested to know what your thoughts are on these questions?

Personally I believe that prayers are vital. Our role as intercessors can mean the difference between heaven and hell for someone we know. So coming back to this transforming Melbourne Prayer movement, it's aim is "for God to renew His Church with a passion to love others and lead them to faith in Him." How do you feel about that?

Check out Festival Victoria also

Thursday, February 10, 2005

The Year of the Rooster

Happy Chinese New Year everyone! It is the Year of the Rooster according to the Chinese Lunar Calendar.

"The sign of The Rooster indicates a person who is hard-working, confident and unwavering. This means Roosters can really crow about their own accomplishments! "

A Taste of Liquid

I attended 'A Taste of Liquid' last night in Preston, where the three main topics were 'Culture, Spirituality and Justice'. There were people from different emerging / missional communities / churches around various suburbs of Melbourne to share their stories (in 5 minutes!). I was excited about all the creative and missional stuff that these communities are doing in Melbourne.

Then we went through three different alternative worship experiences, focussed on justice, culture and spirituality respectively. There was a multimedia presentation using conflicting images and music to show the justice issues, followed by an interactive bible study where each member of the group was given a person to think through during the study on the parable of the banquet. After that we had a great time of meditation and reflection on a passage of scripture, on a beautiful poem called "Love's Bitten Tongue" by Vassai Miller and on silence. It was an enriching time of worship for me personally, although we didn't sing any song!

I got a lot out of the night. I agree that culture, spirituality and justice are three integral streams of Christian mission. It was such a joy seeing all these alternative ways God's people are being / doing church. I have gained some real insights about EC from it too. I feel that shaping the things to come in the West is really challenging, but necessary.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

first post

Welcome to Peregrine Sojo - Kitty's that this blog will enable us to share our inward and outward journeys. Looking forward to connecting to many people through it.