My son recommended the book, and then took me to see the movie (3D, with reclining sofa seats!)

As always the book is much better than the movie. A movie made it look easy to survive alone on Mars for over a year. The book was pretty exciting, capturing all the hurdles he went over using science, and the amusing personality of Mark Watney.

I read a review that said something like: don’t ever get stranded on Mars, and if you do, you better be really smart.

The book, though not based on true events or anything, made me appreciate how smart astronauts have to be.


You would think Jesus only got angry at evil guys, so I was pretty scared when I read this in Mark 3:5 -

“And [Jesus] looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart…”

He was angry at the Pharisees for caring more about the Sabbath laws than about a man’s life. They weren’t murderers or rapists. They were upright citizens who followed the law.

While the name Pharisees has a well-deserved bad connotation, I sympathize with them. The Sabbath laws were instituted to keep the Jews holy. In OT history, they disregarded God’s laws and went their own evil ways, reaping the consequences of God’s judgment. The strict laws of the Pharisees were to insure that Israel will not sin against God.

Maintaining the laws became an obsession and lost it’s original intent of fellowship with God. It lost basic common sense.

I sympathize because to be honest, I’ve seen myself caring more about maintaining a nice neat structure than the people it is suppose to serves. You don’t mean to serve the structure, but it subtly creeps up on you.

Especially in working with children, we want the children to “fall in line, get with the program, be obedient”. We end up managing outward behavior to fit the mold than ministering to their needs. This is something I am constantly aware of. Children ministry is not managing behavior. It’s reaching their hearts.

I guess that’s why I like changes. I like to start things over so we can all remember what and why we do what we do. We focus back on people, and then form the structure to serve their needs.




A reminder to myself – another way of saying “It’s not how long you life, but how well you live.”

“You never know when your time is going to expire, so remember: as you add years to your life, it is more important to add life to your years.”  Barbara Johnson



I heard this on the radio today that I want to remember:

“Salvation is not just a decision for Christ; it’s continual dependency on Christ.”

Everything about our Christian life is about Jesus.

In the America culture where we value independence, we often live the Christian life by doing things for Jesus. I need to remember to focus on Jesus, not on what I do for him.



Came across this article from Aaron’s blog.

“Slow traffic, a sick child, or a costly home repair may not seem like important tools in our sanctification, but they are. We often overlook these interruptions and inconveniences and instead expect God to work in our lives through huge life-changing circumstances. But the reality is, we won’t often have major events in our life that cause us to trust God and obey him in some deeply profound way. We won’t be called to build an ark or take an only child up Mt. Moriah. Rather, it’s in these small frustrations and interruptions, the little things in our life, where we are given opportunities to rely on God, to obey him, and bring him glory.” 

The rest of the article is worth reading.

Picked up this book from the library from the Juvenile section for a quick read about Amy Tan, the author of The Joy Luck Club.

I thought Amy Tan was a great story teller, making up the complicated lives for her characters in The Joy Luck Club. Now I find out those are based of true events in her family, particularly her mother’s life. I have a greater appreciation for her after knowing her difficult crazy family background.

Her second book The Kitchen God’s Wife is based on her mother’s life. I didn’t want to read it before, but now maybe I will.


Heard these today that struck me -

You start off walking with Jesus and end up working for Jesus.

Ephesians 3:1 Paul is a prisoner of Christ, not prisoner of Nero. Christ put him in prison for His purposes.

How do you appropriate Christ into your life? How do you lean on Him?



For some reason, every dream I have about going to the bathroom is a bad dream. I’ve had dreams of bathrooms that are filthy, flooded, with weird shaped toilets, with too many people around, with no doors, with doors that do not lock, with multiple doors that pop open, in a creepy basement, in an old shack on a cliff, in a maze that I can’t find…

Last night, my nightmare bathroom was full of spiders! I was sitting on the toilet fighting off spiders in my hair and crawling up my leg! And I’m allergic to spiders, I said in my dream. (I’m not in real life. I just don’t like them!)

In the meantime, my senior pastor is waiting for me outside in the car to take a group of us to the market. After my ordeal in the bathroom, I went to his Hummer with an open top, apologizing for taking so long, and he was perfectly patient and smiled as he usually does in real life.

I don’t look forward to the next bathroom nightmare.


There are many things in the book Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret that have greatly encouraged me and given me deeper understanding of life in Christ. This biography is written by Howard and Geraldine Taylor, Hudson’s son and daughter in law, a condensed version of a two-volume biography.

Here are some highlights for me:

I am no longer anxious about anything, as I realize this; for he, I know, is able to carry out his will, and his will is mine. It makes no matter where he places, or house. That is rather for him to consider than for me; for in the easiest position he must give me his grace, and in the most difficult his grace is sufficient. p.123

“But are you always conscious of abiding in Christ?” Hudson Taylor was asked many years later. “While sleeping last night,” he replied, “did I ceased to abide in your home because I was unconscious of the fact? We should never be conscious of not abiding in Christ.” p.124

One difficulty follows another very fast…but God reigns, not chance. p.129

John 7:37 ‘If any man thirst, let him come and to me and drink.’ Who does not thirst? Who has not mind–thirsts, heart–thirsts, soul-thirsts or body- thirsts? Well, no matter which, or whether I have them all – ‘Come unto me and’ remain thirsty? Ah no!…, Can Jesus meet my need? Yes, and more than meet it. No matter how intricate my path, how difficult my service; no matter how sad my bereavement, how far away my loved ones; no matter how helpless I am, how deep my soul-yearnings – Jesus can meet all, all, and more than meet…He not only promises me to drink to alleviate my thirst. No, better than that! ‘He who trusts me in this matter (who believeth in me, takes me at my word), out of him shall flow…’ [John 7:38] Can it be? Can the dry and thirsty one not only be refreshed – the parched soil moistened, the arid places cooled – but the land be so saturated that springs well up and streams flow down from it? Even so!…The cause of thirst may be irremediable. One coming, one drinking may refresh and comfort: but we are to be ever coming, ever drinking. No fear of emptying the fountain or exhausting the river! p.129-130



While conversion to Islam is a concern to many Christians, implicit in the study is that birth rate also will play a part in Islam’s accelerated growth. According to Pew Research, Muslims have the highest fertility rate globally – an average of 3.1 children per woman; Christians are second, at 2.7 children per woman. The “replacement” level – the minimum typically needed to maintain a stable population – is 2.1 children per woman. – from OneNewsNow

It makes me sad when Christian couples choose not to have children, or do not want a “large” family: “Oh, one or at most two kids are enough!” Or I see couples wait to have children, and waited too long that the biological clock of the woman catches up and does not allow her to have more than one child. Christians, above all others should value children because God values children. The Bible has nothing negative to say about children.

Yes, I understand it’s a choice. We are not “commanded” by God to have a certain number of children. I am just bothered by the attitude that children are “hard to raise today” or “expensive” or “we want time to ourselves” or “there’s so much we want to do that we can’t do once we have kids” rather than the blessing that God says they are. What if kids will give you more fun than the traveling you want to do? What if kids are the best use of your money than the vacation you are paying for? What if kids will enrich your life more than anything you could be involved in? What if kids are actually worth all the time and energy you invest? Why do people automatically assume that everything else they want to do is better than kids?

Whenever a parent tells me that they are not sure whether or not they should have another child, I tell them that I’ve never heard any parent regret having more kids, but I do hear parents wishing they had more.






Pastor A asked if I would like to read Drucker and Me.  Being that my husband and I are in business, he thought I would like the book. Peter Drucker, known as the guru of management, was required reading in any management class of my generation. I don’t know about now, but his principles and insights still holds true today.

Pastor A gave me one week to read the book. It’s a good thing he did or it would take me months as I like to read several books at one time.

The book, written by Bob Buford who was mentored by Drucker, gave me insights about the mega churches that I didn’t know. Leadership Network is a product of Drucker’s advice to Buford.

While Drucker had a big influence on the growth of mega churches, I didn’t get the sense that he loved the church. I think he loved the idea of what an effective church can do for society, which is not a bad thing. He taught Buford that a well managed church is making the church to be better at what it’s meant to be, not to make it function like a business.

Overall, I liked the book and learned from it. As with all books, I don’t remember much details of what I read. But then, I don’t remember what I ate for dinner last Friday, but I know it nourished and changed me.

From Jesus Calling by Sarah Young:

“Walk by faith, not by sight…When I gave you My Spirit, I empowered you to live beyond your natural ability and strength. That’s why it is so wrong to measure your energy level against the challenges ahead of you. The issue is not your strength but Mine, which is limitless. By walking close to Me, you can accomplish My purposes in My strength.” – March 11

I love reading missionary biographies such as Gladys Aylward and Hudson Taylor. They accomplished incredible things for God and I wondered, how did they have the physical strength? How did Gladys Aylward walk many days without food and caring for over 100 children? How did Hudson Taylor suffer through the poor conditions of the China interiors? How do many of our present day missionaries find the courage to do those difficult things for God?

I should not measure my abilities with the challenges ahead. I have God’s strength which is limitless.

On leadership: Is it more important what you do or who you are?

“The best thing you can bring to leadership is your own transforming self.” – forgot where I heard that.


I said I would read one book at a time, but I broke that rule. There are so many books I want to read. So I buy them and read a couple of chapters from each.

I bought several Francis and Lisa Chan’s new book You and Me Forever to support their ministry.

Some quotes I like:

Sometimes people are paralyzed by fear of failure. They are so afraid that they might do the wrong thing that they do nothing. We need to learn to err on the side of action, because we tend to default to negligence…. For example: Why not assume you should adopt kids unless you hear a voice telling you not to? That seems more biblical since God has told us that true religion is to care for the widows and orphans (James 1:27) … One reason we don’t err on the side of action is the harsh criticism we receive when we fail. People are quick to point out action that ends badly. But we rarely recognize the sin of omission. We criticize the guy who fed too much sugar to starving children rather than criticizing that thousands who fed them nothing. (p.16)

In a way, if we don’t get it right in our marriage relationships, it won’t really matter how well we do beyond that.

Marriage is a big deal when you think of it that way. God does so much work in our minds and hearts through this relationship. Marriage is one of the most humbling, sanctifying journeys you will ever be a part of. It forces us to wrestle with our selfishness and pride. But it also gives as a platform to display love and commitment. (p.35)


I’m reading/listening to this. Here are some ideas that stood out to me:

“What is leadership itself? What does it mean to lead people?” Here is a simple definition, that leadership at its heart involves change. It involves movement. Leadership is movement. The leaders help people to move from where they are to a better place in the purposes of God.

Leadership is not caretaking. There is nothing wrong with caretaking. The people need to be taken care of, but that’s not the specific task of leadership. People need a leader to help them to move or else they typically won’t move. They’ll typically stay where they are, afraid to move – that’s the way we are. The sheep need a shepherd. 

To build on this, we can see that fundamentally there are two things that leaders do. I know that this is an oversimplification but it’s also a very useful one, to clearly articulate the nature of what it is that leaders do. Leaders think and leaders act. First, the leaders think, because leadership involves movement. Where are we going? Leadership involves definition of direction. Where are we going? Leadership involves definition of direction. Articulation of direction, articulation of means by which we will go there. Leaders think. Leaders are thinking outside of the current situation. They’re looking into the future. They’re looking into the possibilities. Hopefully they’re looking at the face of God and they’re being challenged by Him. They themselves are being challenged personally. And then out of that life comes the direction, the vision, the purpose of God in order to help the people to move there. So, first leaders think – they explore, they think outside of the normal patterns of action, the normal ruts that we find ourselves in for so much of our lives. We need leaders to help us get outside of that. This is the essence of what leaders do.

This is good stuff. I encourage you to read/listen to Healthy Leaders.


I was talking to my pastor today and we are both people with ideas!

If we have unlimited resources in money and manpower, it would be our Disneyland! It would be so fun to do everything that we envision our church can do.

We want our church to have impact, not numbers, a church that builds bridges to the community, not walls, a church that partners with other churches and ministries, not duplicating or competing with other Christians.

All this is up to God to lead and open doors.

And I am excited to see what God will do this year.


Job, in all his suffering, never denied God. Yet, something was missing. It wasn’t enough just to persevere in our believe in God.

In his book on prayer, Tim Keller says,

Throughout most of the great Old Testament book that bears his name, Job cries out to God in agonized prayer. For all his complaints, Job never walks away from God or denies his existence – he processes all his pain and suffering through prayer. Yet he cannot except the life God is calling him to live. Then the skies cloud over and God speaks to Job “out of the whirlwind” (Job 38:1). The Lord recounts in vivid detail his creation and sustenance of the universe and of the natural world. Job is astonished and humbled by this deeper vision of God (Job 40:3–5) and has a breakthrough. He finally prays a mighty prayer of repentance and adoration (Job 42:1–6).

Through prayer we not only accept God’s will for us, but to acknowledge His place as God in our lives.


If  you have the YouVersion Bible app, you know there’s a 14 Days devotional plan by Tim Keller. The selected readings are from his new book.

I am on Day 9.

“The question the book of Job is posed in it’s very beginning. Is it possible that a man or woman can come to love God for himself alone so that there is a fundamental contentment in life regardless of circumstances (Job 1:9)? Yes, this is possible, but only through prayer.”

I find this to be true in my life. Whenever I pray, I have God’s perspective and I can rest in his sovereignty. When I do not pray, I feel out of control and everything seems to depend on me.

Thank you God, for the gift of prayer.

Whenever we experience pain, from a minor headache to a broken rib to a life-threatening disease, our first prayer is for God to take away the pain.

I don’t think that’s right.

As I age, can I expect my life to be pain-free? If my knees hurt and my neck is stiff, isn’t that just a part of growing old in a fallen world? Why should I expect God to answer my prayer to take away “normal” pain in my life?

As C. S. Lewis famously said, “But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

Recently I’ve been having indigestion/acid reflux throughout the day. When I began to pray about this, I felt that God must be using this pain to shout to me about something. He’s trying to get my attention. I asked God what it is that He wanted to tell me that I couldn’t hear otherwise.

And He did tell me. I can’t tell you how, but as a follower of Christ of 30+ years, there are times when I “know” what my Lord is telling me. I won’t go into details of what He told me. It wouldn’t make sense to anyone but me. It’s deeply personal actually. It usually is when God speaks to you in a personal way.

My lesson learned is, don’t be too quick to pray for relieve from pain. First ask God, “I know You want to tell me something that I need to know. Can you make it clear to me what it is?” If you don’t sense an answer right away, keep asking. Keep asking until all you are asking is to know God Himself.

Don’t misunderstand. I am not saying it’s wrong to pray for pain to go away. I do pray that too. But it shouldn’t be our first or most urgent prayer.

As Apostle Paul says, “…that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death…”  When God answers that prayer of knowing Him, it is much deeper and more satisfying than relieve from pain.

I think of Joni Eareckson Tada, one of my inspirations. Of all the people who “deserved” to have some relieved from her suffering, Joni should have received healing from God.  Yet she suffers daily chronic pain and she continues to serve her Lord.  If my bit of neck pain gains me a closer walk with God, I can live with that.

stored in: Thoughts on life

I don’t want to call them resolutions. Let’s just say they are notes to self for 2015.

  • Read the Bible – each book 20 times.
  • Focus my life and daily activities on love. “…the foundation for people-transforming ministry is not sound theology; it is love.” (Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands by Paul Tripp, p117).
  • Declutter.
  • Laugh more.

There’s one leftover from last year.

  • Read one book at a time, finish one book every 2 months.

My theme for 2015 – Kindness. A pleasant disposition and concern for others.